Science Central Borehole project
NIReS has obtained major funding from the UK Government’s Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund to support the first step in the development of the Science Central site as a sustainability flagship: the drilling of a two-kilometre borehole to explore for deep geothermal resources which could provide much of the fully-renewable energy supply for the development.
Between rigs … – by Professor Paul Younger of Newcastle University
We successfully concluded the installation of a casing (basically, a continuous steel tube in the borehole) to a depth of 245m. We had to be sure and achieve the very best “grouting” (i.e. installation of cement) between the casing and the rock wall of the borehole.
In view of the fractures at 161m, this actually meant filling the borehole back to that level with grout, which we then had to drill out. We completed all of that so the first drilling rig was then able to leave site. Then, we had a red letter day – the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, came to visit the borehole project. As Minister Huhne’s Department are one of the main funders of the project, we were delighted he was able to visit us.
What an irony, though, after all the frantic activity, that his visit happened to fall in the only time in 6 weeks that there hasn’t been a drilling rig on site! However, the Minister was very understanding, and indulged in the time-honoured practice of looking at the concrete cover and imagining the rocks and pipework down below.
As it happens, I wasn’t even there to help with this exercise of what us geologists call “the eye of faith”, being in Brazil at the time, speaking at the Global Forum on Sustainability, held in the city of Manaus in the Amazon.
We’re now in the final stages of sorting out the next rig to come to the site. Hopefully all will be confirmed soon, and we’ll be off again, heading ever deeper from our current position at 245m below ground.
To read more of Professor Paul Younger’s blogs you can visit the Journal.