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AltaRock Energy signs up for geothermal project in South Korea

View over Gwangju city, South Korea (source: flickr/ NotAlain, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 23 Jan 2014

AltaRock Energy signs up to work on a small geothermal project in South Korea that will use a new water hammer drilling technology.

News today report that U.S. based AltaRock Energy has signed up for a geothermal power project in Gwangju, South Korea.

AltaRock Energy will be administering the project, including deploying the company’s technology and expertise in developing Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS).  In addition, AltaRock agreed to help develop a plan to attract potential domestic and international investors.

The project with an estimated investment need of around 82 billion won ($76.8 million) plans the development of a 3.5 MW deep geothermal power plant.

This step is an interesting one for the company. AltaRock Energy is known for its technology development to enable EGS development and is developing a project in Oregon. The company was also recently part of a group that won a development project on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean.

The media in Korea also reports on a new “water hammer” drilling method developed by a local SME called Hanjin D&B in connection with the project. The water hammer method is a drilling technique whereby the injection well transmits strong water pressure to the drill bit, moving it up and down like a hammer.”

” In 2013, the company succeeded at drilling 3,502m underground using the water hammer technique on a 992m2 lot at the Gwangju Environmental Corporation‘s wastewater treatment plant in Gwangju.”

“Using Hanjin’s water hammer method, it will be possible to build deep geothermal power generators with a capacity of 50,000MW by 2050,” Professor David Blackwell, a professor of geophysics at Southern Methodist University  said. “That is enough to replace fifty nuclear power plants around the world.”

In a previous version of this article it was implied that AltaRock Energy will be investing into the project, which is not the case, as the company corrected.

Source: The Hankyoreh