Deep drilling is set to commence soon at the Eden Geothermal Project near St Austell in Cornwall.
Next week, the first lorries carrying a 450-tonne, 55 metre-high drilling rig are set to arrive on the outer edge of the Eden Project site.
Eden Project Co-Founder Sir Tim Smit commented on the announcement: “Forget the official po-faced language about sustainability and our energy future…this is every romantic’s dream. Jules Verne would be smiling, as would Brunel, as will every Briton worried that we had lost our island mojo.
“It is a privilege for Eden to be involved in a team embracing the future with the skills of the engineer and the power of the imagination, laying down a marker for a future that is ours to make.”
Once fully assembled into position on a newly-laid concrete platform, the rig will be ready to drill 4.5 kilometres (nearly three miles) down into the Earth’s granite crust.
The first phase of drilling is expected to take five months and when completed, will allow water to be injected down the borehole to be superheated by the hot rocks beneath.
The hot water will then be pumped back to the top up a pipe suspended in the same borehole, generating heat initially to warm Eden’s Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, offices, kitchens and greenhouses. The same water will then be re-circulated to be superheated and used again.
Following the successful completion of this first phase the next phase is to drill a second well close to the first to a similar depth of around 4.5 kilometres.
This closed circulatory system of two wells is set to bring even more heated water to the surface for heating in the local area and also allow the generation of electricity from the hot water.
According to the team, successfully completing the second phase will mean that the project will generate enough renewable energy for Eden to become carbon negative during 2023.
The project is being delivered by Eden Geothermal Limited (EGL), a three-way partnership between Eden Project Limited, EGS Energy Limited, a geothermal development and consultancy group, and BESTEC (UK) Limited, affiliated with BESTEC GmbH, a specialist geothermal developer and drilling advisor.
EGL is also working with other experts and interested parties in the geothermal field to create a wider renewable and industry sector for Cornwall and for the UK.
More information about the project is available on the Eden Geothermal website.