By Klaus Regenauer-Lieb
It’s been a fantastic few months since the WA Geothermal Centre of Excellence partners came together to push the button on start-up. We’ve been planning the Centre’s projects, strategy and focus for some time now and I’m happy to report that we’ve been making some real progress towards our goals.
You will no doubt have heard of UWA’s Geothermal Proof of Concept Project, which involves extracting the heat from hot water within the Yarragadee aquifer deep below Crawley campus. This heat, after the water has been reinjected back into the aquifer, will be used directly to power the base load of the air conditioning for the University campus.
We’ve drilled our first test hole for a temperature profile and other results (including the use of a 200 meter string of down-hole geophones to investigate the local stratigraphy via Walkway Vertical Seismic Profiling).
We’ve continued our progression of this project on a number of fronts. Two risk workshops have been carried out already to properly identify and manage any potential issues with drilling in a campus-style environment.
These workshops have included experts from the Department of Mines and Petroleum. Our next steps are to collect and interpret more data on the aquifers below campus while also progressing other areas such as our work on the above ground infrastructure such as absorption chillers and heat exchange technology.
We’re continuing our collaborations with the world’s leading geothermal institutes in New Zealand and Germany and drawing on our in-house capabilities to provide them with solutions to some problems they face. We can only see these relationships growing stronger as WAGCOE is becoming more and more recognised for the cutting edge capabilities the Centre can provide to partners and clients.
Closer to home here at UWA we’ve also been in contact with (and even engaged in strategic planning workshops) with some local City Councils. Many local councils, including Stirling, Mandurah and Joondalup are actively pursuing initiatives to further develop renewable energy solutions into their forward planning. As with these programs the Centre is also looking at and actively involved in meetings with planners for the “smart city” projects of the future in Western Australia.
Watch this space....