Sedimentary Aquifer Geothermal Feasibility Study


Date: Nov 2018 – Apr 2019
Location: Cheshire West and Chester, England
Client: Public Sector
Contract: Feasibility

Cheshire West & Chester Council commissioned TownRock Energy (TRE) and an engineering partner to complete a two part detailed geothermal, technical and economic feasibility study of the potential for deep geothermal heat to supply a proportion of space and hot water heating demands at two closely located sports centres in Ellesmere Port. This project was part-sponsored by the UK Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU).

Using available data and information TRE completed a detailed assessment and modelling of the deep geothermal resource available underneath the Ellesmere Port area and used this to estimate the temperature, abstraction rates and potential for thermal depletion of the geothermal resource over the timescale of the heat network. In addition, using the spatial and geological information available TRE identified potential locations for abstraction and return boreholes.

Two lines of section were constructed to show the target aquifer, by integrating surface geological maps, seismic interpretation and wells, and “sweet spots” identified.

TRE gathered detailed heat demand data from the two leisure centres. These had swimming pools, public and private sector ownership, and existing gas fired CHP plant. Demand data included half-hourly gas meter readings, heat consumption data for the swimming pools and domestic hot water heating.

TRE identified routes for an energy centre, district heat network, abstraction and return boreholes and subsequently developed site-specific capital and operating cost estimates. These were used to complete a detailed 40-year cashflow forecast for the project against a Business as Usual (BAU) scenario which had been agreed with the client. The life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of the geothermal heat pump project were compared against BAU for natural gas. The project economics (payback, net present value and internal rate of return) were estimated and tested using sensitivity analysis against key parameters which included capital cost, varying the cost of conventional (gas) heat and electricity. Finally, the project team developed a risk matrix with mitigation measures and identified a series of enabling actions with identified owners that were recommended to carry the project forward.