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HomeGeothermalDravske Elektrarne Maribor receives permit to build geothermal power plant

Dravske Elektrarne Maribor receives permit to build geothermal power plant

Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM), a company part of Slovenia’s largest electricity producer Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE) has received a building permit for the construction of a geothermal power plant on the Pg-8 wellbore, which will serve as a good practice demonstration project and enable increased use of geothermal energy.

The pilot research project in the village of Čentiba in the Municipality of Lendava will exploit the geothermal energy potential of the existing dry and unproductive wellbore, which has a depth of approximately 3,000 metres and is the first of its kind in Slovenia. The geothermal power plant will consist of an underground section, including a gravitational tube and an above-ground section, including a cooling system and engine room.

“What is special about this pilot geothermal device is the use of a geothermal gravitational heat pipe, which enables a closed circulation of refrigerant and that only one dry well is required for the power plant to operate,” said Damjan Seme, Director of DEM. “The power plant will thus operate without gas and other emissions. The advantage of geothermal power plants is a completely closed system that prevents heat loss as well as refrigerant loss. Special equipment and sealing materials adapted for contact with ammonia will be used for the planned development, ensuring maximum safety.”

The next step in the project is the rehabilitation of the Pg-8 wellbore, installation of a geothermal gravitational pipe and a leak-proofness test. This will be followed by the installation of the above-ground section of the geothermal power plant and testing of the productivity of the wellbore and of all equipment. It is envisaged that testing could begin in July 2023 and, if tests are successful, the power plant would go into regular operation in April 2024.

“This pilot project is a niche market on a global scale,” added Aleksander Brunčko, Director General of DEM. “The concept of exploitation of geothermal energy in the described way is patented and Dravske Elektrarne Maribor has the exclusive right to use this patent. The pilot project will be the first application of this patent, which is the product of Slovenian know-how. The implementation, which represents a new step on the path of the development of and transition to a low-carbon society for all project partners, is an added value both for the local community and for the whole of Slovenia. We are particularly pleased that we combined the know-how, experience and interest of the Slovenian companies Petrol Geo and Nafta Lendava with the support and planned participation of the Municipality of Lendava”.

If the pilot project yields favourable results, this concept could be used in other abandoned wellbores in Slovenia and around the world. The project thus represents an important milestone for the development of geothermal energy and contributes to reducing pollution from abandoned wellbores around the world.

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