Conclusions and Next Steps
This report has evaluated the technical and economic potential to drill, install and connect a Deep Geothermal Single Well (DGSW) system to supply heat to both the Anaerobic Digestion unit and surrounding residential units at the new site for the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC). The DGSW will consist of a single, vertical well drilled to a depth of approximately 2km within the granite beneath the site.
A geological review and a conservative thermal modelling exercise has concluded that the site is located in an area where temperatures will be within the required operational range for the DGSW. In addition, the site is not considered to be in a location where deep waters would contain significant levels of contaminants or harmful gases such as Radon.
The DGSW has been designed to function in almost any geological environment and therefore represents a very low risk method of capitalising on the deep geothermal heat present in Scotland. The system has also been demonstrated to have a very high efficiency that means that the lifetime carbon savings are substantial when compared with a conventional gas boiler. The carbon emissions associated with drilling and casing the well is offset within the first year of operation making this a very attractive technology to contribute to the decarbonisation of Scotland's heat supply.
The new AECC site represents an excellent opportunity to host a deep geothermal heat demonstration project and to showcase how deep geothermal heat can be harnessed for a number of uses (both commercial and domestic). The site has good access for both drilling the well and any ongoing maintenance required during the system operation.
Drilling and developing a DGSW at the AECC site will provide:
- A low risk method of proving the deep geothermal heat resource
- A high profile showcase site for deep geothermal heat (commercial and domestic), including an exhibition and education centre
- Benefits to the immediate local community via a low temperature network
- Much needed temperature and geological data from deep on-shore drilling
- A system that does not require fracking or "stimulation". This will be important for ensuring that the local community is on side.
- The best opportunity for demonstrating the commercial opportunity of deep geothermal heat.
The project programme and associated costs have been listed in the financial section of this report. The total programme will be approximately 27 months and the next stage of the project will be to achieve all of the necessary permits for the site and contractual arrangements to drill the well and delivery the system. The total cost of the project will be £2.3M. The costs of the project can be well constrained as we have existing data from similar projects that we are currently in the process of developing in the UK. Further, because these wells will be drilled under Engineering Procurement Construction contracts that we have developed on previous projects, the overall costs can be well constrained. This will not be the case for geothermal projects with directional doublet wells.
The project represents a very exciting opportunity to prove that deep geothermal heat is a low risk, viable source of renewable low carbon heat in Scotland. It also offers the unique opportunity to use the international AECC venue to educate the community on the subsurface in general and the use of deep geothermal heat and to showcase the technology to the oil and gas industry and commercial investors from around the world.
Email: Johann MacDougall
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