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Hot Dry Rocks plans 500kW pilot project in Victoria, Australia by 2012

Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia (source: flickr/ yewenyi, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 18 Jul 2011

Melbourne-based company Hot Dry Rocks plans to construct a 500 kilowatt pilot plant in the Maryvale area in Victoria, Australia by the end fo 2012. The company received promising results from research into the feasibility of producing geothermal power in the region.

Reported from Victoria, Australia, “By the end of 2012, Melbourne-based company Hot Dry Rocks plans to construct a 500 kilowatt pilot plant in the Maryvale area after receiving promising results from research into the feasibility of producing geothermal power in the region.

The technology works by generating electricity from the hot water beneath the surface. The project received a AU$217,000 grant from the State Government in November last year to conduct work in the region.

The announcement of plans to construct the pilot plant means the Latrobe Valley could have a future in renewable electricity generation if coal-fired electricity begins to be phased out.

Hot Dry Rocks technical director Graeme Beardsmore said the announcement of details behind federal carbon legislation made the company “all the more the determined” to push ahead with the project.

“We chose the Latrobe Valley out of the whole of Australia because it’s the best place to trial this,” Mr Beardsmore said.

He said coal was a “good thermal insulator” which trapped heat and the company planned to drill through the coalbed to hot aquifers underneath. “The thicker the coal the hotter the water underneath,”Mr Beardsmore said.

The company had been unable to find water which was 80 degrees Celsius, which it believed was required for the technology, but now believes it can work at lower temperatures.

“We’ve been a little innovative and worked out a way we can generate almost the same amount of power from a lower temperature,” Mr Beardsmore said.

The company said if the pilot plant was successful there could be scope to commercialise the technology.”

Source: Latrobe Valley Express