Eden Deep Geothermal Plant
Why at The Eden Project?
The geological resource identified in Cornwall is likely to exhibit all the characteristics to allow the application of EGS techniques. The relatively small amount of water required to set up the reservoir is also present in sufficient quantity in the area. In order to determine the area where the initial EGS Plant will be established, EGS Energy has undertaken an analysis of geological data to select sites and to develop plans for geothermal reservoirs and a suitable site has been identified at The Eden Project.
In collaboration with The Eden Project EGS Energy proposes to build the UK's first geothermal power plant generating both heat and electricity. With a capacity of 4MWe and the ability to generate around 95% of the time, it should produce enough electricity to supply Eden and the equivalent of around five thousand households, as well as heating for the biomes and potentially some district heating (depending on economics and logistics). It is hoped that power will be delivered from late 2013 but this depends on many factors: planning permission, drilling rig availability, drilling progress, and so on. Have a look at the 3D animation of a typical plant below.
As outlined in Cornwall - A History of Innovation, engineered geothermal system technology has its roots in the pioneering work done in Cornwall in recent decades. Most of the EGS Energy technical team worked at the Rosemanowes Geothermal Project near Penryn for periods during the 1980s and 1990s.
What is involved?
The Eden Deep Geothermal Plant will be made up of two boreholes, driven around 4 km into the granite beneath Eden. The rock at that depth is at about 180-190°C; water injected down the first borehole will be returned to the surface at around 185°C via the second borehole. The superheated water will be used to generate electricity, and will then be returned to the injection borehole.
An EGS plant is very efficient when compared to many other systems. Perhaps 25-30% of the power created by the plant will go back into pumping water around the system, so it can be said to be about 70% efficient overall. The Eden Deep Geothermal Plant should cover an area about the size of a rugby pitch, and the buildings will be no more than 10m (30ft) tall.
Unlike other sources of renewable energy, the Eden Deep Geothermal Plant will be able to run 24 hours a day for over 300 days a year. To understand in more detail what is involved with an engineered geothermal system, see the description and technical detail here.
Who is involved?
You will find out more about the experts behind Penzance-based EGS Energy - and their experience in establishing engineered geothermal system power plants elsewhere in Europe - here
What are the issues?
EGS Energy has put together a series of FAQs to address what in its experience are many of the main questions and concerns relating to an EGS. If you do not find an answer to your question there - or indeed disagree with the answer in FAQs - do not hesitate to direct your query to Contact us.
On the evening of Friday 6 November 2009, EGS Energy presented their proposals for the Eden Deep Geothermal Plant to a gathering of local stakeholders at The Eden Project. You will find a report of the open public meeting in the press release.
People in the St. Austell area had a further opportunity to find out more about the proposed Eden Deep Geothermal Plant at the Information Days at Trethurgy Village Hall on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 July 2010. See the press release for a report.
EGS Energy entered a planning application for the new plant at the beginning of August 2010. This is available from the Cornwall Council website.
On 16 December 2010, planning permission was granted for the Eden EGS Plant development, based on the application presented to Cornwall Council. See here for the press release.
Have a look at the animated visualisation below of the proposed plant.