- By: David Townsend
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Official Press Release:
The Hill of Banchory Geothermal Energy Project will be exploring how natural heat from deep underground can be used to serve local housing and businesses. The project has secured a grant from the Scottish Government’s Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund, supported by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme – the first strategic intervention established under the new European Structural Funds programme.
The granites that underlie the Grampian Mountains around Banchory contain colossal amounts of naturally occurring heat. The Hill of Banchory Geothermal Energy Project will investigate how this can be used to supply low carbon heat at a large scale, helping to deliver a crucial element of the Scottish Government’s strategy to tackle climate change. The ultimate aim of the Geothermal project is to drill deep boreholes targeting zones of natural water movement within the granite. Pumped to the surface, this hot water will be used to provide heating to the houses and businesses connected to the Hill of Banchory heat network. The return cooler water will later be re-injected to depth, ensuring the system’s long term sustainability. Such systems are well-established in Sweden, Iceland and regions of Africa.
At present many heat customers are already connected to the Hill of Banchory district heating scheme, which delivers cost effective heat using low carbon biomass boilers sited in a dedicated energy centre. The new project will investigate how geothermal heat can be used to supply “base load” heat, complementing the biomass boilers and improving the efficiency of the Hill of Banchory scheme. The geothermal heat will also potentially allow the network to expand, allowing a wider range of customers in Banchory to access low carbon, cost effective heat.
The first phase of the project will include a comprehensive desk-top analysis, using all available data, to produce a robust model of the geology below Banchory. This will maximise the chance of tapping into suitable flows of water during drilling. Alongside this studies will also be made of the carbon savings delivered by the project, of the provisional borehole design, and of the scope to roll out similar systems nearby and elsewhere in Scotland.
Alexander Burnett, Chairman of North Banchory Company commented, ‘This is a fantastic initiative that I am proud my team and I have been accepted to be a part of. The highly promising geology and existing heat network make Hill of Banchory an ideal location for a breakthrough deep geothermal heat project. With projects like this, we can be sure to take advantage of our amazing environment to heat our homes without causing harm. I look forward to the development of this project and its potential benefits.