China successfully drills well for geothermal hot dry rock project

Hainan Zangzu, Qinghai, China (source: flickr/ Ken Marshall, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 7 Sep 2017

Scientists in China report the first successful well drilled into hot dry rock in the northwestern part of China. With temperatures at a 236°C, this could provide sufficient for an EGS geothermal project development.

As reported locally, scientists from China are reporting a temperature of 236 degrees Celsius from a well drilled in the Gonghe basin in the northwestern province of Qinghai in China. Drilled to the depth of of 3,705 meters the well is the first drilled in efforts to explore the geothermal hot dry rock potential in China. The recovery of energy from these rock formations can be done through engineered or enhanced geothermal systems (EGS).

Considered as a key potential energy source for the future, this hot dry rock project and its drilling results present a breakthrough in exploration efforts.

It is estimated that China holds 856 trillion tons of hot dry rock, similar to the same resources reported from the United States, according to a spokesperson for the Geological Survey of China’s Ministry of Land and Resources. Scientists estimate that about two percent, or 17 trillion tons are recoverable as energy source.

The nation’s southeast coastal areas, Songliao Plain in the northeast, North China Plain and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau region are key potential areas for exploration and development. The southern plateau, in particular, is said to hold resources of the largest in volume and highest in temperature.

Hot dry rock at a depth of 3,000 to 10,000 meters, is a dense, impermeable, high temperature rock without water or steam.

With technology available today, engineered geothermal systems in those hot dry rocks, could recover energy a temperatures above 150 degrees Celsius, which could be utilised both for power generation and heating.

Energy contained in hot dry rock is considered recoverable, and equivalent to tens of times the energy of the world’s oil, natural gas and coal combined, preliminary calculations suggest.

Source: YiCai Global