Gianluca Naddeo, Lorenzo Mancini, and Mauro D’Ambra were honored to participate in a site visit and ceremony organized by GEL to mark the commencement of construction activities.

Geothermal Engineering Limited (GEL), the UK’s pioneering geothermal company, yesterday announced the start of construction work at the United Downs site to bring its geothermal power and lithium extraction plants into full operation. Exergy has already commenced work onsite, and the power plant is scheduled to be completed by summer of this year, with the first power production expected in Q4 2024. For this project, Exergy is responsible for the turnkey EPC contract.

GEL’s flagship United Downs site located near Redruth is a UK first for geothermal power, harnessing the heat from hot granite rocks beneath Cornwall via two deep wells which were drilled and tested in 2019 and 2020. Targeted production levels at United Downs and across the GEL portfolio are set at 25 MWe of baseload electricity and 100 MWh of heat energy by 2028, enough power and heat for 70,000 homes.

In addition to this, recent testing from GEL revealed that the geothermal fluid within the wells at the United Downs site has one of the highest concentrations of lithium in all of Europe at around 340 parts per million (ppm). As this lithium is contained in geothermal brine, it can be extracted as a zero-carbon by-product, which eliminates the need for carbon-intensive extraction methods that are common in lithium production elsewhere in the world.

GEL aims to procure 100 tonnes per annum (tpa) of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) from United Downs in late 2024. When lithium extraction capabilities are expanded to other GEL sites, it aims to increase production to over 12,000 tpa by 2030.

Committed funding support from contributors such as Kerogen Capital and Thrive Renewables PLC is helping to place Cornwall and the South-West at the forefront of environmental innovation. With GEL spearheading the UK’s push towards clean energy with its geothermal power and heat, and now leading the drive for domestic lithium production in the wake of high demand for electric vehicle batteries, it has established itself as a key player in the country’s journey to net-zero.

Construction begins at United Downs geothermal site

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