The United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project, Cornwall, UK

9 Oct 2019, 09:00
KIT - AudiMax (Karlsruhe)

KIT - AudiMax


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology South Campus Forum-Hörsaal AudiMax, Blg. 30.95 Strasse am Forum 1 76131 Karlsruhe Germany


Mr. Peter Ledingham (GeoScience Ltd)


The United Downs Deep Geothermal Power (UDDGP) project is the first geothermal power project in the United Kingdom. It aims to develop the geothermal resources in the heat-producing granites that lie beneath Cornwall in SW England. Financial support has come from the European Regional Development Fund and the local authority (Cornwall Council) who, together, have provided £13m of the £18m project budget.

Two wells have been drilled to intersect a target fault structure that, it is hoped, will provide enough natural permeability to allow circulation between the wells at flow rates between 20 and 80l/s. The wells intersect the fault at vertical depths of approximately 2,000m (injection well) and 4,000m (production well).

The bottomhole temperature is expected to be in the region of 190 Deg C which should support electricity generation of between 1 and 3WMe (net). Drilling began in November 2018 and was completed at the end of June 2019. The production well reached a depth of 5,275m (MD) and the injection well 2,393m (MD).

The objective of the project is to prove the concept of operating a system with a very large well spacing, within an organized natural fracture system, and to demonstrate the viability of producing electricity so that the necessary private investment can be attracted to further develop the geothermal resources in Cornwall.

In parallel with the technical programme, Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) has given a high priority to the implementation of a diverse and inclusive programme of education and public outreach in the local and wider community. The education programme has so far reached approximately 3,000 students.

The community outreach programme has built and strengthened GEL’s relationship with the community and aims to provide reliable and objective information about geothermal energy in general, and the United Downs project in particular. Public open days are held at regular intervals to encourage people to come and view the site, ask questions and learn about geothermal energy. GEL has also attended numerous community events, public meetings and county-wide shows, spreading the message to thousands of members of the public.

Primary authors

Mr. Peter Ledingham (GeoScience Ltd) Dr. Ryan Law (Geothermal Engineering Ltd)

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