In a move that I greet with great enthusiasem DOE has embarked on a project with a number of partners to test Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technologies at a commercial geothermal power facility near Reno, Nevada.
EGS technology enhances the permeability of underground strata, typically by injecting water into hot underground strata at high pressure. The concept was initially developed to create geothermal reservoirs in hot underground strata where no water existed—a technology called “hot dry rock”—but has since been extended as a means of enhancing the performance of existing geothermal reservoirs.
Under the DOE project, EGS technology will be tested in a well at the 11-megawatt Desert Peak facility, which is owned by Ormat Technologies, Inc. The well is currently not able to produce commercially useful quantities of hot geothermal fluid, but with the help of EGS, the site is thought to have the potential to produce 50 megawatts of power or more.
Meanwhile, an application of EGS in a true hot dry rock application in Australia is continuing to make progress. Geodynamics, Limited (ASX: GDY) announced on February 5th that the company has completed its production well, called Habanero 3. The Company is now moving forward with preparations for an open circulation test, planned to commence 10 to 14 days from the date of the announcement, by injecting water into Habanero 1 and removing the heated geothermal water from Habanero 3. The test should give the company an indication of the potential power production of the artificially created geothermal reservoir. – tfd