Push for a EGS demonstration project in Cornwall, UK

Alexander Richter 24 Apr 2009

Scientists in the UK have now formed a company to develop an EGS demonstration project in Cornwall, which could be operational in 2012.

Scientists in the UK have now formed a company, EGS Energy, to develop an EGS demonstration project in Cornwall, which could be operational in 2012.

Geothermal seems to be the “blind spot” in all renewable energy discussions in government of the United Kingdom. Therefore, so an article by New Energy Focus, “world-renowned geophysicists met with Liberal Democrat energy spokesman to seek help” promoting geothermal energy.

“The meeting came ahead of a gathering of the Geological Society’s engineering group on Tuesday night, in which the potential for so-called “heat mining” in the UK and Europe was likened to the scale of the nuclear industry.

For the price of a single “clean coal” power station, they believe the technology could become a fully commercial venture – providing valuable “baseload” power alongside wind and solar power projects, operating as much as 90% of the time, without emissions.

The potential for this kind of project has been limited in the UK geology so far, but a different form of geothermal technology, known as engineered or enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), is now beginning to move towards commercialisation with plans taking shape for a 3MW pilot plant in Cornwall.

Although EGS technology is not yet fully commercial, a 2.9MW plant is operating commercially in Landau, western Germany, while projects are now being developed in Australia, the US and Japan. Preparations are now underway for a similar-sized demonstration plant to be set up in the UK.

Scientists including Roy Baria, who also worked on the MIT study, have now formed a company to develop the demonstration project in Cornwall, which could be operational in 2012.

The company, called EGS Energy, is currently seeking £500,000 in seed funding for the early stages of its demonstration project.

It is also seeking to persuade the government to devise a licensing system for geothermal projects, similar to that in the oil and gas drilling sector. This is so that projects can secure investment, since being awarded a licence would give a project a tangible value on which to borrow money.

Dr Baria, technical director at EGS, told New Energy Focus: “We are now looking for seed capital to take forward the development, and we hope to start the study some time in the Spring of 2010, with a business plan ready, then we will go to industry for financing.”

The firm believes the 3MWe demonstration project could lead to a number of 50MW-scale power plants being set up in Cornwall as well as in Cumbria, Derbyshire and Durham, where there are also suitable granite rock formations – making use of skills in the existing oil and gas industry.”

For the full article, see link provided below.

Source: New Energy Focus