Monday, October 26, 2009 - 11:54

The Eden Project will be holding an open public meeting on Friday November 6 about its plan to build a geothermal power plant on its site at Bodelva, near St Austell.

The meeting will take place at Eden’s Visitor Centre between 6pm and 8pm and will follow an afternoon meeting about the plans for local councillors, planners and community network managers.

The meetings will include Eden chief executive Tim Smit as well as energy experts from Eden and their geothermal partners EGS Energy Limited.

The open meeting will be chaired by Catherine Mitchell, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus.

Also invited are members of the Eden Neighbours’ Forum and specialists from the Combined Universities in Cornwall.

The meeting will be informal with conversations taking place around the room before presentations followed by a question and answer session.

Matt Hastings, Eden’s Energy Manager, said: “Anyone who wishes to come along and take part is more than welcome. This will be a great opportunity for people to find out what our geothermal plans are all about and to discuss them with those directly involved.

“The team is looking forward to meeting people with an interest in the plans and we hope everyone will go home with a better understanding of why we’re planning to do this and how we hope to achieve it.”

Eden’s partnership with EGS Energy is to establish an engineered geothermal system power plant from which Eden could take the electricity and heat to power its site and put excess electricity onto the national grid.

EGS Energy, a company based in Penzance, Cornwall, and Eden are working together to obtain consent for a site and to establish the power plant, in what could be the first installation of its type in the UK.

The power plant at Eden would consist of a two borehole system – one injection well and one production well, both around three to four kilometres deep. Water would be circulated between the two wells, heated by the hot rocks in the process and returning to the surface at approximately 150ºC.

There it would drive a binary turbine to create electricity, at a planned capacity of 3MW. It is intended that further development of the power plant could see the hot water being used for other purposes such as heating beyond the Eden site, before it is returned into the reservoir.

The partnership process began in June and is expected that it would be completed, the boreholes drilled and the power plant producing power, by 2012/13.

Engineered geothermal system technology has developed apace in recent years, with much of the key science and know-how having been developed at the Hot Rocks project at Rosemanowes Quarry near Penryn, Cornwall, in the 1970s and 1980s.

The skills of the EGS Energy team have been honed over a total of more than 70 years of working with reservoirs deep in granite rocks and circulating water through them. One of EGS Energy’s partners, BESTEC GmbH, operates a commercial plant in Landau, Germany, with a capacity of up to 3.8MWe.

Matt Hastings added: “The EGS Energy power plant could open up the Holy Grail of renewable energy: a secure, consistent, carbon-neutral source of both heat and power.

“The energy would be 100 per cent controllable and on an industrial scale. Above all, compared to other clean technologies, it has a small footprint above ground, and since it consists of a closed loop system its potential negative environmental impact is small.”