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Geodynamics produces Australia’s first Enhanced Geothermal Systems generated power

Geodynamics Limited's 1MWe Habanero Pilot Plant has been successfully commissioned and has produced Australia’s first Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) generated power.

The company has now commenced the planned demonstration trial and testing program which is scheduled to run for approximately 100 days with completion in August 2013. 

Managing Director and CEO Geoff Ward said “The generation of power at our 1MWe Pilot Plant is a major milestone for Geodynamics, geothermal power in Australia and EGS technology globally."

But there is at least one detractor. Writing in Peak Oil Australia, David Kimble pours cold water on Geodynamics' hot rocks plan. Kimble expresses concerns about the funding for the transmission network to connect this power to the national grid.

Geothermal energy offers the prospect of zero carbon, base-load energy generation. "Zero carbon" means that no carbon dioxide (CO2) will be emitted when generating energy. This is different from some other forms of ‘renewable’ energy, which still result in significant CO2 emissions.

”Base-load” means that power is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round, and therefore can be used to meet energy needs at any time. This is a significant advantage compared to a number of other zero-carbon technologies that are more intermittent (such as wind, wave and solar power). 

Geothermal energy produced from hot fractured rocks, also known as Engineered or Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), is generated by special high heat producing granites located 3km or more below the Earth's surface.

The heat inside these granites is trapped by overlying rocks which act as an insulating blanket. The heat is extracted from these granites by pumping water through fractures in the granite and bringing the hot water to surface. Geodynamics believes that energy produced using EGS technology is capable of generating base-load power at a cost that will be very competitive with other energy sources (both low carbon and otherwise). 

The Habanero EGS Project has received funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s provision of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program grant funding. 

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