Friday, October 26, 2007

Geothermal Exploration in Chile's Chillan Hot Springs

(Oct. 26, 2007) The National Geothermal Corporation (Empresa Nacional de Geotermia S.A.) will begin construction next month on a geothermal energy plant located near Chillan. It will extract energy through the same sources that generate thermal water and fumaroles near the famed resort city.

The US$9 million project is expected to generate enough energy to supply all of Chillan and is to be completed in 2010. The project will require digging two holes 2,500 meters deep and will use the escaping vapors to generate electricity.

“This uses water that is deeply buried, so it doesn’t affect the surface water or generate waste,” said Carlos Almanza, regional minister of mining.

Although the cost of the project is quite high, the results could be very positive: if the water reaches temperatures above 300 C (572 F), it could generate 40 megawatts, enough energy for Chillan’s 172,225 residents.

Here is the full article.