Eavor Technologies says it has started drilling two wells to support a $10-million pilot project of what it calls Eavor-Loop, “the world’s first truly closed-loop geothermal system.”
The pilot, located near Rocky Mountain House, Alta., has $2 million in combined funding support from Alberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta in addition to private financing support.
The technology is designed to harvest heat from deep in the earth to be used for commercial heating applications or to be used to generate electricity using conventional heat to power engines, Eavor says.
The company says the pilot will consist of a large U-tube shaped well at a depth of 2.4 kilometres, with several kilometres of multilateral horizontal wellbores and a pipeline connecting the sites on surface.
Two drilling rigs are being operated simultaneously from both sites and used to intersect the multilateral wellbores at depth, Eavor says.
“Water is circulated in the inlet well, through the parallel wellbores to extract heat by conductive heat transfer with the rock, and rises up the outlet wellbore at a higher temperature. The density difference between the inlet well and outlet well creates a thermosiphon which completely drives the flow, without any pumping power. A test facility on surface is designed to measure all relevant performance data and enable optimization of the system.”
The design is not intended to be commercially viable, the company says.
It is intended “to build a project that proves and demonstrates all the critical elements of Eavor’s technologies at the lowest cost” in order to “achieve the most efficient path to acceptance and commercialization of the technology by project developers and commercial financiers.”
The drilling operations are scheduled to be completed in September, with full completion of the surface facility and initial testing beginning in Q4/2019.