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Content archived on 2024-05-14

European concerted action for the support of the hot dry rock geothermal energy R&D activities 1998-2000


The 1998-2000 European HDR research programme at Soultz (France) represents the transition from a scientific underground exploration programme which started in 1987, into the industrially led development phase of a Scientific Pilot Plant (30-50 MW, at 200(C) using a revised HDR concept in a Graben setting. A four months circulation test was performed in the summer of 1997 (using a down-hole pump) which demonstrated that 25 Vs can be circulated continuously through t he stimulated system. Various diagnostic methods including tracers were used to evaluate the performance of the reservoir/heat exchanger which gave outstanding results [> 142(C output temperature, no fluid losses, reservoir impedance 0.2 MPa/l/s with 450 m well separation, 3000-3500 m depth].
Scope of the concerted action
In the previous 10 years the EC support was organised within the frame of shaedd cost actions. Presently, it would appear to be more convenient to organise the EC support within a framework of a concerted action because of the following elements:
The activities involve 14 academic and industrial teams from France, Germany, Italy, UK and Switzerland covering domains from mud logging to complex mathematical modelling.
The overall management of such a wide spectrum of activities requires the continuous support of a co-ordinating body incorporating a permanent multinational European team on site in order to perform the concertation tasks and engineering required as support services for the collective scientific activities drilling and pumping operations, equipment, maintenance of sites and wells,permanent on site support to scientists with heavy operational equipment,...). A central management team is the only way to perform these tasks under reasonably safe, and cost effective conditions while fulfilling as much as possible the wide spectrum of the scientific requirements of the partners. The available collective infrastructure, equipment and know-how must be accessible to new partners within the duration of the programme.
It is planned to maintain and extend the existing permanent information network which is open to all interested parties, whether or not they are already participants.
Content of the concerted action
The basic activity of the concerted action is to facilitate research by the partners which will address the objectives listed below. The concerted action will also maintain an information exchange network, which is necessary in real in order to validate the research activities and share the information between the partners and other interested parties. The background to the research activities is as follows:
A critical external review of the 1997 circulation test is under way. The main technical content of this proposal assumes that the review will be positive and covers validation of the in-situ data for the detailed design (by the industrial partners) of a Scientific Pilot Plant for which support would be sought under Fifth Framework Programme.
The industrial partners (two electricity utility companies) have formed a company (EEIG) to lead this Pilot Plant phase post-2000. An alternative conting contingent work programme is also included in case the review is negative, and the work necessary to complete the documentation and the closure of the site facilities.
This programme meets a specific request from the industrial partners to validate the conditions at 200(C by deepening an existing well (from 3600 to 5000 m depth) and carrying out the necessary measurements to show that it is technicaly feasible to create an engineered system similar to or bigger than that generated at 3500 m depth and tested in 1997. Consequently, (at the request of the industrial partners) the programme for the 1998-2000 will have the following objectives:
a) To demonstrate that temperatures high enough for future electrical production (190-210(C) can be reached in the Rhine Graben at a moderate depth (ie. 5000 m), with acceptable drilling cost and risk.
b) To demonstrate that, at 4500 m to 5000 m depth, the natural medium is as favourable as it has been found to be between 2500 m and 3600 m depth for the creation of an engineered system.
c) To prepare a full design for a Scientific Pilot Plant by the industrial partners.

Call for proposal

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Société de Coopération Minière et Industrielle SA
EU contribution
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Route de Kutzenhausen
67250 Soultz-sous-Forêts

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Total cost
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Participants (12)