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Geothermal Eden gets the go-ahead

Geothermal Eden gets the go-ahead Cornwall Council has granted planning permission for the drilling of two boreholes to create an engineered geothermal system at the Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall, UK. Work on drilling is expected to begin in this June quarter, with electricity to be produced in the second half of 2013.

The plant, to be installed by geothermal energy expert EGS Energy, will exploit the heat produced by the underlying Cornish granites to generate up to 4MW of electricity for use at Eden, with the significant surplus (enough for about 5,000 houses) going to the National Grid. Heat produced by the plant will be used to warm Eden’s biomes.

Matt Hastings, Eden’s energy manager, said: “It’s great that EGS Energy has permission to proceed with the plant. We are in the early stages of a massive project which we hope will be the catalyst for a series of geothermal power plants throughout Cornwall.

“If all goes according to plan, the technology will provide wellneeded resilience to the Cornish power grid, while also helping to meet the daunting national challenge of a six-fold increase in renewable electricity and a 22- fold increase in renewable heat by 2020. We are also backing the Renewable Energy Association in their efforts to win more government support for geothermal energy.”

The plant, to be situated on the north of the Eden Project, will utilise a two borehole system – one injection well and one production well, both 4.5km in depth. Water will circulate between the bottom of the two wells, where it will be heated by the hot rocks and returned to the surface at about 180ºC. At the surface, the heat will be extracted to drive a binary turbine and create electricity and hot water.

Guy Macpherson-Grant, managing director of EGS Energy, said: “Here in Cornwall, the UK’s natural home for geothermal activity, and where there is a world-class geothermal resource, there is a great opportunity for EGS to deploy the experience and skills of its leading team of experts. In establishing this pioneering plant, they will be building on their success in this field elsewhere in Europe, benefiting the local community along with the rest of the country.”

Roy Baria, technical director at EGS, added: “It is very satisfying to see the technology and techniques that we initially developed at the Hot Rocks geothermal research project at Rosemanowes quarry in the 1980s now being used again in Cornwall in the development of a commercial EGS plant.”
Courtesy Mining Journal
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