Geothermal Engineering Ltd.

Geothermal Engineering Ltd is a privately owned British company founded in 2008 specialising in the development of geothermal resources.

United Downs project

Geothermal Engineering Ltd is currently developing a project at the United Downs industrial estate, near Redruth, Cornwall.[1] The power station at United Downs will generate 10 MW electricity, to be sold back to the National Grid; and 55 MW thermal energy, to be distributed locally.

The Enhanced Geothermal System employed by Geothermal Engineering Ltd to generate power at United Downs targets volumes of rock that already exhibit enhanced permeability. The company plans to drill three boreholes to a true depth of 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi). Water is pumped down a borehole which then travels through fractures in the rock, capturing the heat, until it is pumped out of one or more production boreholes as very hot pressurised water which is then converted into electricity using a steam turbine.[2][3] The water for charging the reservoir will come from flooded mines, not from the local water supply. The hot water produced by the plant can also be used to supply thermal energy and air conditioning (via an absorption chiller) to the surrounding area.


Geothermal Engineering Ltd announced the plans for the United Downs geothermal power station in October 2009;[4] and held a local consultation in Carharrack in the same month. In December 2009 the company received £1.475 million in funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.[5]

On 13 August 2010 the United Downs plant was granted planning permission by Cornwall Council in a unanimous vote.[6][7] At that time, the drilling of the first well was expected to begin in early 2011 [8] and the plant was expected to be operational by 2013-2014.[9]

In November 2011, Geothermal Engineering Ltd was awarded a grant of £6 Million from the Regional Growth Fund towards the cost of the project and drilling of the first well was expected to begin in late 2012.[10] In April 2013, the grant was withdrawn due to the company's failure to attract private funding for the project.[11]


  1. "Draft plans for geothermal plant". BBC News. 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  2. Halper, Mark (2009-10-11). "We're mining for heat in Cornwall". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  3. "Geothermal power plant set to become a reality in Cornwall". New Civil Engineer. Emap Ltd. 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  4. "'Hot rocks' power plant plans revealed". Western Morning News. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  5. "Geothermal power plant gets funds". BBC News. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  6. "'Hot rocks' geothermal energy plant promises a UK first for Cornwall". Western Morning News. 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  7. "UK's first geothermal plant given go-ahead". Financial Times. 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  8. "Drilling to begin for Cornwall geothermal power plant in 2011". The Guardian. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  9. "Geothermal projects get funding boost". The Ecologist. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  10. "£6 Million Grant For Geothermal Energy Project in Cornwall". Invest in Cornwall. 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  11. "Geothermal project on rocks after funding blow". this is Cornwall. 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
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