Friday, October 23, 2015

Science & Technology: Overview of Larderello Super-Critical Deep Geothermal Reservoir Project

Drilling the world's hottest geothermal well (Science Daily)

There is an infinite amount of energy lying right beneath our feet. It is a renewable and stable energy source – free of CO2 emissions. Researchers are now planning to drill deep into the Earth to extract it. If they succeed it will be a major technological breakthrough. Ninety-nine per cent of planet Earth has a temperature in excess of 1,000 degrees Celsius as a result of residual heat inherited from the Earth's primordial origins and the breakdown of radioactive materials. This heat can be transformed into energy – and there is more than enough to go round.

Researchers and technologists from all over Europe are joining forces to pursue a common cause -- to make sure that the world's potentially most energy-rich geothermal well becomes a reality. The well will be drilled in Larderello in Tuscany, and EUR 15.6 of research funding has been earmarked for the project.

Global green energy producer Enel Green Power is heading the project called DESCRAMBLE (Drilling in dEep, Super-CRitical AMBients of continentaL Europe), where the aim is to extract the maximum possible energy from the well.

The objective of the DESCRAMBLE project is to demonstrate the feasibility of extracting electricity from super-critical deep geothermal reservoirs. Water reaches super-critical conditions when the temperature and pressure is higher than 374°C and 218 bar respectively. The main motivation for the project is that the electrical power generation from super-critical geothermal wells is estimated to increase the power output by a factor of 10 thereby reducing the number of wells needed per MWe production. Drilling costs represent a substantial part (30-50%) of a hydrothermal geothermal electricity project, reducing the number of wells needed will therefore increase the competitiveness of such projects

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