Slovenian companies Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM), Petrol, and Nafta Lendava have made an important step toward implementing the first pilot geothermal power plant in Slovenia with the use of innovative technology.
Dravske Elektrarne Maribor, part of power utility Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE), has received a building permit from the Municipality of Lendava to build a geothermal power plant on the Pg-8 well, which will serve as a demonstration project of good practice and increase the use of geothermal energy in Slovenia – Balkan Green Energy News reports.
Pilot project with Slovenian innovation
The country currently doesn’t have any geothermal power plants. In February 2021, DEM, Petrol, and Nafta Lendava signed a letter of intent to implement the project, which envisages the exploitation of geothermal energy from abandoned gas and oil wells. The pilot project will use the geothermal energy potential of an existing dry, unproductive well.
The project will use a geothermal gravity heat pipe, a technology patented in Slovenia. It will be the first application of a Slovenian patent that DEM has the right to use. It can lead to a breakthrough in using geothermal energy in deserted gas and oil wells.
Testing could begin in 2023
According to DEM, the next step in the project is the rehabilitation of the Pg-8 well, the installation of a geothermal gravity pipe, and a leak test. Installation of the above-ground part of the geothermal power plant and testing of the quality of the well and all equipment should follow. Testing could begin in July 2023, and, if it is successful, the power plant will become operational in April 2024, the company said.
A niche market on a global scale
DEM – running together with energy company Petrol’s subsidiary Petrol Geo, the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Maribor, and the Geological Survey of Slovenia – received EUR 730,000 in April under a public call for the co-financing of a climate change mitigation and adaptation program. It is financed by the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
Aleksander Brunčko, General Manager of DEM, said the endeavour is part of a niche market on a global scale. According to Damjan Seme, manager of DEM, the use of the geothermal gravity heat pipe, which enables a closed refrigerant circuit and requires only one dry well to operate the power plant, will be a special feature of the pilot geothermal device.