After a 10-year campaign, the Eden Project has secured funding to commence work on a pioneering geothermal heat and power project.
Alongside partner, EGS Energy, the Eden Project announced that £16.8mn in funding had been secured for the first phase of the project, which is aiming to prove the extent of resource beneath the site. The funds have been provided by Cornwall Council (£1.4mn), institutional investors (£5.5mn) and through the final round of Cornwall’s EU funding from the European Regional Development Fund (£9.9mn). The first phase will see the drilling of a first 4.5km well, a research project and a heat main with a district heat system for the Eden Project’s biomes, offices and greenhouses.
This work will lead into a second phase which will involve the drilling of another well and an electricity plant. Once this second phase is completed, the Eden Project will be generating enough renewable energy to become carbon positive by 2023 and will also be providing heat and power to the local area.
Eden Project co-founder, Sir Tim Smit, said Eden had, had a “dream” of a world powered by renewable energy but a gap existed owed to solar and wind power being intermittent while batteries being unable to store enough. Smit added: “We believe the answer lies beneath our feet in the heat underground that can be accessed by drilling technology that pumps water towards the centre of the earth and brings it back up superheated to provide us with heat and electricity. The missing piece of the jigsaw in a 24/7 clean renewable energy future is this baseload.”