Australia Looks at Deep Rock Geothermal Renewable

An Australian company has started exploration in the Hunter Valley and Cooper Basin to select the best site for a demonstration deep hot dry rocks (HDR) geothermal power plant.

BRISBANE, Australia, AU, 2001-10-24 [] Geodynamics Ltd was formed last year and officials say they have raised A$1 million in seed capital. They have secured two geothermal exploration licences in the Hunter Valley in NSW and the Cooper Basin in South Australia. Two Australian experts in HDR energy, Doone Wyborn and Prame Chopra from the Australian National University in Canberra, have joined the company, which plans to launch an initial public offer next year. HDR geothermal is a renewable energy technology with a capacity to carry large base loads. One cubic kilometer of hot granite at 250 oC has stored energy equivalent to 40 million barrels of oil. The concept of HDR involves heat generated by special high heat-containing granites. The heat inside these granites is trapped by overlying rocks which act as an insulating blanket, which must be 3 km thick for the required temperatures of 200 o. The heat is extracted from the rocks by circulating water in an artificial reservoir, with standard geothermal generating plants. The cost of developing a demonstration HDR geothermal energy power plant with an output of 10-15 MW has been estimated at $45 to 50 million. Geodynamics has established close links with HDR experts in France, Germany, Japan, Britain and the United States, with the hope of gaining access to $1 billion worth of current research in the technology.
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