New Delhi: After finding success in its pilot project at Dholera, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) is planning to tap a large geothermal source for commercially viable production of electricity.
For this, it is planning to rope in oil companies to carry out deep well drilling and exploration at various locations in Gujarat, said officials involved in the project.
The state is now exploring geothermal renewable energy and it is ready to set up its first geothermal power plant of 10-20 kilowatt capacity.
The plant will start operating next month at Dholera, where medium enthalpy heat in the form of hot springs has been found under the earth. This is ideal for generating electricity, PDPU officials said.
PDPU is now aiming to tap geothermal energy by drilling Gujarat’s first ‘parametric’ well at Dholera. For this, it is preparing an environment impact assessment study after the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) recently set the terms of reference.
The Centre of Excellence for Geothermal Energy, (CEGE), a part of PDPU and funded by the Gujarat government, is coordinating the initiative which includes the Rs 13 crore project that aims to drill wells to depths of 1,500 metres at Dholera. The state government had established CEGE in October 2013 to generate large scale electricity.
“The aim is to produce megawatt scale electricity,” said Manan Shah, faculty – School of Petroleum Technology and scientist at CEGE. “Unlike solar and wind energy, geothermal energy is available round the clock. The geothermal energy potential in India is about 10,000 MW and it has remained untapped so far,” he said. “CEGE has performed extensive exploration activities in Gujarat and identified 17 sweet spots among which Dholera is one of the most promising. We are the first in the country to initiate an attempt to generate electricity with the help of geothermal energy. We are happy that the ministry of new and renewable energy has extended support to upscale the pilot project,” said Anirbid Sircar, head of CEGE.
Initially, six sites including Dholera, Unai, Gandhar, Tuwa, Chabsar and Tulsishyam were identified by CEGE. However, CEGE is currently focusing on three sites — Dholera, Gandhar and Unai for exploration activities. Two geothermal borewells were drilled at Dholera where the temperature of water was found to be 47-60 degrees celsius. The hot water of the well will be used for power generation using a technique termed as Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). CEGE has also joined hands with French firm ENOGIA to arrange the ORC unit to be brought to India this month. Plans are also afoot to tap abandoned ONGC wells in Gandhar region where the temperatures are very high and suitable to generate megawatt scale geothermal power, said Shah.