Thursday, November 1, 2018

United Kingdom: Drilling at United Downs Deep Geothermal Power Project to Begin Next Week

Exploiting Cornwall's Geothermal Potential - Dr. Barry Wills

(Courtesy Dr. Barry Wills)
Last weekend I was invited, together with members of the Cornish Institute of Engineers (CIE), to visit the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power (UDDGP) project in the old copper mining district.

Commencing tomorrow, two deep holes (wells) will be drilled; one for injection at about 2,500m depth and one for production at 4,500m. The temperature at the bottom of the production well is expected to be about 190°C. Water will be pumped from the production well, fed through a heat exchanger and then re-injected into the ground to pick up more heat from the rocks in a continuous cycle. The extracted heat will be used to supply a demonstration power plant.

Drilling such deep wells in very hard rocks requires a large drilling rig, similar to those normally used for oil, gas and conventional geothermal wells and it is estimated that it will take between six and seven months to drill the two wells, operating 24 hours a day.

The project aims to prove the technical and commercial viability of generating electricity from geothermal energy in Cornwall, so if the drilling and testing is successful UDDGP will build a small demonstration power plant and supply power to the grid.

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