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Disruptive geothermal energy concept

philip LEijTEN's picture
Director Soka Solutions

Energy professional with comprehensive skill-set in the project development cycle across the technical, commercial and economic modeling space. Available to take on responsibilities for renewable...

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  • Nov 30, 2020
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The core of this project to exploit geothermal heat is absolutely fascinating in its simplicity. If you come from an oil and gas background I would encourage you to explore Eavor Technologies Inc.. It is a Canadian start-up looking to use the thermosiphon principle to bring natural heat to the surface which can be used for heating / cooling or electricity generation through a heat engine.

This innovation (patents pending) stems essentially from the advancements in the NA oil shale industry. Two 2.5km vertical wells, 2.5km apart, connected with precisely drilled multi-laterals, completed with proprietary pipe and filled with a proprietary working fluid form a gigantic radiator. Eavor's demonstration project in Alberta is up and running since Dec 4th 2019. The project in the Netherlands would be the first commercial (heat only) Eavor-loop and cost about EUR65mln. Assuming this configuration heats 16,000 dwellings than with a (NL) average of 10MWh per year per dwelling, this would be a 18MW installation, at ~$3000/kW. Not bad. Next question: what is the cost reduction potential from learning curves and scaling up the supply chain?

#renewableenergy #geothermal #oilandgas #energytransition

https://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/provinces-cities-ebn-and-market-players-are-joining-forces-on-geothermal-development-in-the-netherlands/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=news

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 30, 2020

Can you share more about what this is doing that's markedly different from existing geothermal on the market? It seems that it's more about 'going down and getting' the heat rather than waiting for it to come up to the surface-- is that fair to say? 

philip LEijTEN's picture
philip LEijTEN on Nov 30, 2020

Good question; here's my take on what makes the Eavor loop standout from existing geothermal concepts:

  1. It's a completely closed system: no brine to surface, no non condensable (sometimes poisonous) gases to surface (and emitted), no leakage into aquifers.
  2. With the loop completely closed, it can be filled with a proprietory working fluid (patented I'm sure) especially designed to maximise efficiency of the system. 
  3. The convection (thermosiphon) reduces the parasitic pump load that in conventional low temperature geothermal systems can consume up a chunk of the generated power (up to 50%).
  4. There is no exploratory risk in finding a niche geography with high permeability aquifers connected into a volcanic like heat source which is a requirement for high temperature geothermal systems. Instead Eavor loop uses the geological temperature gradient which opens up wider areas of application. 

The multi-laterals that connect the pair of vertical wells create a large heat transfer area. They have a proprietory technique to seal these horizontal multi-laterals eliminating the need for expensive casing. 

Initial projects include heat (NL), power (Japan) and combined heat power for small off grid communities.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 30, 2020

Interesting-- so are we talking about a way to make existing geothermal resources (or potential for resources) more effective? It's not necessarily opening up new areas where geothermal wouldn't have previously been viable? 

philip LEijTEN's picture
philip LEijTEN on Nov 30, 2020

The link to Eavor's website in the original post somehow got messed up. Here it is: 

Eavor Technologies website

 

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Dec 1, 2020

How interesting. Thanks Phillip. 

Are there pilot Eavor Loop projects underway?  What immediately occurs to me is that the materials to keep such a system operational, i.e. sealed, would wear out relatively quickly, or require very exotic and expensive materials to make it last. As you say, the circulating fluid would also have to be very special, i.e. heat conductive and stable, non-abrasive and relatively environmentally non-damaging in case of leak.

It sounds like a very high tech version of home heating systems in use today in which water is circulated through pipes to a depth of approximately 200 feet.  The difference in temperature between ingoing and outgoing only needs to be a few degrees apart to make it financially worthwhile in the long run.

The web site is a little short on specifics.  I imagine more is coming soon.

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