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Cutting-edge deep geothermal system and drilling technology suitable for all users and locations

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GEODEPOWER (Cutting-edge deep geothermal system and drilling technology suitable for all users and locations)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-04-30

The main issue being addressed by GEODEPower is the need to rapidly upscale renewable energy capacity in Europe to move away from fossil fuels and meet growing demands at the same time. Geothermal energy which uses heat from the Earth’s core to supply a constant, clean and sustainable source of energy, has endless potential but is currently limited to specific areas of the world with very hot geothermal gradients.
Rock Energy’s patented drilling methods have allowed us to reach deeper depths (up to 5km) 900% faster than conventional drilling techniques. GEODEPower for the first time will produce a constant source of geothermal energy at any location, including areas with little available space, at low operational prices. GEODEPower plants are completely closed loop and outperform other renewables like solar panels, windmills and hydropower dams whose ability to generate energy is still dependent on weather conditions and can only be installed in areas with significant open space available.
GEODEPower will increase the amount of renewable energy produced in Europe by growing the economic potential of geothermal energy. Adding GEODEPower to the current energy market will reduce the EU’s dependency on imports from foreign sources and drive the renewable energy market to become more competitive and reduce the impact of climate change. Since the majority of energy consumed in Europe is used for heating and cooling, our GEODEPower plants are the perfect solution produce energy for heating demands ranging from 0.3-150 GWhth/year.
The key objectives of this project was to assess the technical, commercial and financial feasibility of commercializing GEODEPower on the basis of drilling two 1,500m wells at the Oslo Airport. We aimed to get a full sense of the timing of drilling and installation of our plants and during the process realize improvement measures to reach the most effective rate of penetration, reduce the noise impact of drilling and environmental impacts. On the basis of our findings we wanted to understand our true costs related to plant production in order to refine our commercial offer on the market and calculate our financial projections going forward. From a commercial standpoint we wanted to confirm our freedom to operate, develop measures to mitigate any potential risks, identify the most ideal market segments for commercialization and the most appropriate business models for each.
The main technical activities in the project included: planning, drilling with air hammer, installation of collectors and testing the performance of our wells. For planning (activities ranging from permitting to engineering studies) Rock Energy found that for projects of a similar scope, decision-making can be done within a 2-6-month timeframe. For drilling activities, we have analyzed mechanical elements to find the right compressor functions suitable for the drilling rig and redesigned drill bits to obtain the most optimal function. Drilling was completed at an average rate of 26 days for a 1,500m well and we identified significant room for improvement, such as cement planning. Our experiences showed us the that we will be able to drill a 2,000m well within the timeframe of one month and that there are significant opportunities to reduce sound emissions coming from compressors and boosters.
At the next stage we installed collector pipes to move water through the well for heat absorption and studied the optimal setting of the pump in the well to ensure an appropriate heat delivery rate. To verify this, we built a test rig which also allowed us to test the accuracy of our simulation model which estimates the heat extraction of our deep energy wells. Based on results achieved in the pilot test at Oslo Airport, we also realized that our future wells need to be tighter to ensure that they don’t fill with formation water or debris, thus well sealing will be added to our future wells.
We have identified that the best market segments during the first phase of GEODEPower exploitation are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as Nordic countries have the right balance between need and opportunity. For these segments we have concluded that the Independent Power Producer Developer and the Build Own and Operate are the most opportune models for our business operations as well as our clients’ needs.
Our main progress beyond the state of the art has been our improved rate of penetration, thanks to our innovative drilling processes with air and water hammer (20m/hour versus 2m/hour) as well as our ability to improve the lifetime of our drill bits (up to 20 meters an hour compared with 1-2 meters an hour) which also reduces time.
We expect that this will radically transform the potential for geothermal energy to supply a constant, clean and cheap supply of energy. Since the exchange with hot dry rock is constant and produced in situ, next to the end user that makes GEODEPower a truly reliable supplier of energy and eliminates any potential energy losses along the way.
Compared to other geothermal systems, the concept of GEODEPower will be a game changer. One of our deep wells is equivalent to 20 shallow wells and can be installed in all types of landscapes, independent of the available geothermal gradient. Its closed loop system ensures that there are no environmental impacts compared to fracked EGS, which is the only other deep geothermal system currently being explored at a wide scale.
Since most of our infrastructure is underground and only <40 m2 of space is needed for equipment to move energy from well to grid, we see that for areas in Europe which are currently struggling with the need to increase capacity with only a small amount of space available, like population dense areas, GEODEPower is an ideal solution. Furthermore, GEODEPower plants are customizable, designed to fit exactly the end energy needs of the user. Our simulation model allows us to tailor our GEODEPower plants according to the user need (starting at as little as 0.3GWh/yr up to 25MW). This translates into direct financial gains with: 80% less upfront costs, land savings extraordinary cost-benefit balance given the long lifespan of GEODEPower wells and short return on investment thanks to the low operational/maintenance costs of GEODEPower plants for its end users.