In an article published yesterday, background is given on the man behind the pioneering geothermal heating project St1 Deep Heat in Espoo, Finland.
A self-made billionaire having made a $1.5 billion fortunte on fossil fuels, Mika Anttonen is said to be among the most passionate renewable energy champions in his native country Finland.
St1 Oy is a Finnish energy company owning the St1 service stations‘ chain in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Poland. The company was established in 1995 and has now around 1,500 petrol stations.
But pushing his business further he has made a big bet on wind power, biofuels and also on geothermal energy. So while put temporarily on hold earlier this year, the St1 Deep Heat project has since resumed drilling.
The project, which we have reported on before. aims to drill two wells to a depth of 7,000 meters into granite bedrock. The plan is then to pump water into one of them and let the water heat and then pump it up again through the second well. The temperature at the bottom of the wells is estimated to be 115 degrees Celsius.
If successful, the water could then run through a heat exchanger and provide up to 10% of the district heating needs of the city with an installed heating capacity of 40 MW thermal. Currently Finnish heat networks depend heavily on fossil fuel, so geothermal energy could be a great way to cut emissions.
“It sure is exciting, since nobody has ever done anything like that before. This is a bit like Jules Verne on the Journey to the Center of the Earth” says Mika Anttonen, one of the main backers of the project and the founder and principal shareholder of St1, the Finnish energy company behind the venture. 50-year old Anttonen made his first appearance on the Forbes list earlier this year. With an estimated net worth of $ 1,49 billion he is ranked #1468 as one of just seven Finnish citizens on the list.
Despite the technical difficulties in the drilling program earlier this year, and therefore rising costs, Anttonen remains hopeful.
Source: Business Insider