Geothermal pilot plant surpasses expectations

Australian geothermal exploration and development company Geodynamics has successfully completed the 1MWe Habanero Pilot Plant Demonstration, 10km south of Innamincka, South Australia.

The Habanero Project is designed to prove the value immediately around the Habanero location and demonstrate commercial capability from the site. The plant is one of only three operating Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) power plants worldwide.

The plant operated for 160 days, completing step rate performance testing, tracer injection testing, reliability testing, a nitrogen casing insulation trial and various operational and corrosion control trials.

Prior to the trial’s closure, the plant was operating at 19kg/s and 215°C production well-head temperature.

According to the company, results surpassed expected values. The demonstration achieved the best recorded closed loop flows and the highest well-head temperatures ever achieved at Habanero, with availability exceeding 75 per cent up-time since commissioning.

Geodynamics chief executive officer Geoff Ward said the company is pleased to have safely and successfully completed the test program and demonstration.

“This trial is a world leading example of EGS technology and I would like to thank all the team for their contribution to this excellent outcome. In particular I would like to acknowledge the support of ARENA for their assistance in achieving this significant milestone,” he said.

“We are very encouraged by the results we have achieved, the reliability demonstrated by the closed loop enhanced geothermal system and the interest that this trial has drawn from potential customers. We look forward to using the successful results of this trial to put forward proposals to interested local customers to secure the further development of the Habanero project.”

The pilot plant will now be shut down and suspended while the results of the trial are analysed. The company has announced the plant will be maintained so it can be used for further trials or as part of an ongoing commercial development.