The new pioneers of the earth’s energy

Published on Friday, 29 April 2016

“Our geothermal experience is an Italian excellence that has long since become a benchmark also in the Americas, where Drilling teams are already operating in Reno, Nevada, and Santiago de Chile.”

The new frontier

Over its century-long history, the geothermal industry has always been searching not only for new fields but also for new extraction techniques.

The drillings in the beginning of the 20th. century reached the more superficial geothermal fluid reservoirs. Then, in the 80s they went further down to the deeper second level. Now is time for the third level, where the supercritical fluids are found.

“The real frontier consists in reaching the very deep reservoirs containing supercritical fluids. Along this road there are currently only two pathfinder with the necessary experience: us and the Icelanders.”

– Paolo Romagnoli, Head of Enel Green Power' Geothermal Centre of Excellence and Drilling Team

Towards the K horizon

The K horizon points towards new, even deeper reservoirs, with temperatures above 400°. The Descramble project, funded by the European Union, chose Larderello (Italy) to push the oldest renewable technology towards this new frontier.

Enel Green Power coordinates the research team - whose members come from Italy, Germany and Norway - that is developing the project for water extraction in 'supercritical' conditions, with pressure values 218 times higher than in the surface and subject to temperatures of around 374°C.

With Descramble we are planning on developing technologies for the extraction of this 'supercritical water', thus enabling geothermal plants to reduce the number of wells that each unity requires for electricity production, resulting in cost savings and stronger competitiveness for this industry.

Reaching the K horizon means discovering a new world in the Earth's heart. We are ready for this new adventure.