Researchers starting trials on geothermal pilot project in Oita Prefecture, Japan

Researchers starting trials on geothermal pilot project in Oita Prefecture, Japan Pilot plant for project utilising river water for geothermal power plant, Oita/ Japan (source: screenshot NHK video)
Alexander Richter 12 Oct 2016

A pilot project by researchers from a private startup and Kyoto University is about to start utilising river water to extract geothermal heat for power generation on site in Oita Prefecture.

A new geothermal pilot plant project in Japan is looking at utilising geothermal energy without tapping underground reserves. One of the key hurdles for geothermal development in Japan is the fact that local communities and hot spring operators are afraid of development tapping the same resource and effecting their livelihood.

A team of research from company Japan New Energy and Kyoto University are now reporting that they will start a trial run of a system they developed later this week.

The project team has developed an approach that does not require tapping existing underground reservoirs by utilising river water pumped underground to be retrieved later to generate electricity. Essentially this sounds like an EGS project that utilises hot temperatures beneath the surface.

With this approach, the team says it won’t be limited by legal restrictions on utilising water resources that fuel hot springs in the country. The project is located in Oita Prefecture in the Southwest of Japan.


With the pilot project, the team hopes to prove the concept and put it into commercial operation within the next 2 years.

“The president of the venture firm says they want to make use of abundant reserves of geothermal energy in the volcanic country to contribute to Japan’s energy sector. He says they also hope to establish the technology internationally.”

Source: NHK Japan