University of Western Australia’s geothermal plans
The University of Western Australia has big geothermal intentions. It wants to harness steam to power air-conditioners and heat swimming pools", but also utilize geothermal energy to create fresh water in a desalination plant.
Western Australia’s “Perth Now” reports big intentions at this state’s university just outside of Perth city. The plan is to” dig 2.5km down into the Perth basin and harness steam to power air-conditioners and heat swimming pools”, but also utilize geothermal energy to create fresh water in a desalination plant.
The state’s Mines and Petroleum Minister announced a list of companies approved to explore the technology in parts of the state. Last year the goverment allocated about 500 lots which can be leased for geothermal exploration and granted $2.3million to a new research centre on geothermal technology called The Geothermal Centre of Excellence (GCE) with the University of Western Australia.
Prof Klaus Regenauer-Lieb, a geothermal expert from UWA and head of GCE, said that while little is known about hot rocks in WA, scientists do know there is hot water down there. “Geothermal energy is classically used in volcanic settings in many countries such as the USA, Iceland and New Zealand for power generation, and has been used in WA for heating the swimming pools at Challenge Stadium and Christ Church Grammar School,” Prof Regenauer-Lieb said. “We want to go one step further and use our natural hot geothermal water to air-condition cities.”
While UWA will be one of the first facilities to utilise WA’s geothermal power, a list of companies including West-Perth based Green Rock Energy have also been granted permission.
On the list are eleven other projects including AAA Energy, Austral Ion, New World Energy Solutions, Granite Power, Geothermal Power, Torrens Energy and Thermal Resources.
“The expected expenditure for geothermal exploration for the 36 permits in the Perth Basin is more than $560 million in the next six years,” he said. “This industry has the potential to provide clean energy to the State’s electricity network and offer innovative solutions for companies to meet their own power requirements.