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Eden Project switches on the UK’s first new geothermal system in 37 years

As from today, the Eden Project Biomes and a new state-of-the-art nursery, will be heated using a 4km- deep geothermal system, the first such system to come online since 1986.

The well has a vertical depth of 4,871 metres (just over 3 miles). The measured depth – the actual length of the well – is 5,277 metres (nearly 3.3 miles) making it the longest geothermal well in the UK.

A 4000m vacuum-insulated tube has been inserted into the well, through which water is injected and superheated as it is meets the layers of granite below.  The hot water will then be pumped back up to the surface.  This heat will initially warm Eden’s Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, offices, kitchens and greenhouses. The same water will then be re-circulated to be superheated and used again.

The geothermal project has been delivered by Eden Geothermal Limited (EGL), a three-way partnership between Eden Project Limited, EGS Energy Limited, a geothermal development and consultancy group, and BESTEC (UK) Limited, affiliated with BESTEC GmbH, the specialist geothermal developer and drilling advisor. 

Sir Tim Smit KBE, Co-Founder of the Eden Project, said: ‘Geothermal is the sleeping giant of renewables: lying not under our noses, but literally under our feet. The Netherlands’ geothermal industry started with heating for greenhouses, and they are now aiming for it to contribute to a quarter of all their heating by 2050.’

Gus Grand, CEO of EGL, said: ‘This is a big moment for Eden Geothermal and renewables in the UK, but we’ve only just begun: in the race to decarbonise, progress has been slow for heat technologies, behind electricity and transport, but geothermal energy, with its small surface impact, can be used in urban areas and for large institutions, factories, hospitals, universities and schools. This project is a great demonstration, heating a whole rainforest and commercial nursery, with hopefully a distillery on the way.’

Richard Day, Chairman of EGL, said: ‘Geothermal offers a real opportunity for the oil and gas industry to transform itself and become part of the solution. Not only are the expertise and technology for geothermal directly transferrable, but coaxial systems like this could be used to repurpose oil and gas wells’’

As well as the famous biomes, the new Growing Point nursery which has been built between the geothermal site and the Biomes will benefit from this new heat source. The nursery will enable Eden’s Living Landscapes Team to produce all the plants for the Rainforest Biome, Mediterranean Biome Outdoor Gardens and retail, as well as food for the hundreds of thousands of people who visits the Eden Project every year.

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