Geothermal Bores

Rockwater Projects

Geothermal

Representative Projects

Rockwater geothermal staff include hydrogeologists, modellers, geochemists and environmental scientists.

 

Since 1996, Rockwater has been at the forefront of geothermal energy projects in Western Australia. Rockwater has developed systems to produce and inject groundwater with temperatures of up to 55°C, obtained from bores 500 to 1,200 m deep; and to utilise shallower groundwater of lower temperature.

Perth is particularly well-located for groundwater-based geothermal systems, with about 30 deep bores having been constructed for major direct-use projects (mostly swimming pool heating and space heating). Several other projects are in the planning and development phases. Rockwater has also completed geothermal assessments in Queensland and Victoria


Rockwater is the industry-acknowledged leading Hot Sedimentary Aquifer geothermal consultant in WA, having completed the majority of the direct-use geothermal projects in the Perth area. Rockwater obtained a special commendation in the 2002 Western Australian Water Industry Awards for conservation of water; and an Excellence Award from the Australian Institute of Refrigeration and Health (AIRAH) for the construction of a geothermal bore at Christ Church Grammar School.

In addition to deep-geothermal projects, Rockwater has developed shallow-aquifer systems whereby groundwater-supplied heat pumps are used primarily for space heating and the cooling of buildings.

 

Other geothermal projects undertaken by Rockwater include the construction of large-scale heat-rejection borefields into shallow aquifers for the cooling of large facilities, such as Edith Cowan University and the Pawsey supercomputer centre in Kensington.

 

Representative projects include:

 

 

City of Stirling, Scarborough Beach Pool 

The Scarborough Beach Geothermal Project is an exciting new project that will minimise the environmental footprint of the Scarborough Beach Pool. The project involves pumping water from the Yarragadee aquifer and using the aquifer’s natural heat to maintain the aquatic complex’s temperature. The water is then injected back into the Yarragadee aquifer; that is, it is a closed loop operation whereby no net water is extracted from the aquifer.  This technology allows for  renewable energy to be employed to heat the swimming pools rather than conventional gas boilers. It is estimated that this will result in a greenhouse gas abatement of approximately 1,800 Tonnes of CO2/ annum and save the City of Stirling up to $530,000 / annum in utility costs.

 

As a result of the aquifer properties, Rockwater's bore design and successful drilling operations, the geothermal duplet at Scarborough has the ability to produce significantly greater flow than the required 35 litres per second and the water temperature of 51oC exceeds the projects’ requirement  of 45oC.

 

The Scarborough Beach Pool was the 13th swimming pool facility in the Perth Basin to employ direct use geothermal energy for heating. The bore duplet at Scarborough will produce 2,200 kW of geothermal heat, increasing the total installed capacity of Perth Basin direct use geothermal systems to 16,580 kW. This is equivalent to 1,105 conventional household (15 kW) gas hot water systems.

 

The City of Stirling joins several other local governments and private schools with geothermally heated swimming pools.  During 2017, an additional two of Rockwater's direct-use geothermal projects will also be commissioned, at the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre and the Cockburn ARC. The City of Armadale has also commenced drilling for a geothermal system at its Armadale Aquatic Centre, which will be completed in 2018.

 

Aegis Aged Care, Montgomery House 

Montgomery House is an historic Perth landmark that has been transformed into an 80-bed aged care facility by Aegis Aged Care. The challenges of providing air conditioning for such a large and heritage-sensitive site were matched by the challenges of its location – it borders a former rubbish disposal site and is surrounded by residences (and so is sensitive to drilling and testing operations).

 

Rockwater has designed and commissioned the Montgomery House geothermal project: an open-loop system that accesses aquifers within the Tertiary Kings Park Formation. Two 155 metre deep production bores deliver 23 °C water to a heat exchanger. Discharge water is injected into the same aquifer via a 165 metre deep injection bore. This thermal energy is used to heat and cool Montgomery House buildings via an automated 800 kW heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The Montgomery House geothermal project will deliver considerable long-term energy savings. Over a 30 year operating period the system NPV (for a 5% discount rate) is projected to be about AUD $1.5M and deliver over 8,000 tons of carbon-emissions reductions.

 

CSIRO, Pawsey Centre

In 2012 Australia and South Africa won the right to host the Square-Kilometre Array (SKA) project. It will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, and will investigate new frontiers in space exploration. To support the SKA project, a specially-build supercomputer is being built in metropolitan Perth (the CSIRO’s Pawsey Centre), with computing power that will rank it in the top 20 in the world. The energy requirements for cooling the Pawsey supercomputer were first estimated at approximately 2,600 kW, and so a large geothermal cooling system has been implemented to cool the computer’s significant amounts of generated heat.

 

Rockwater designed and implemented the geothermal system, starting with a comprehensive hydrogeological assessment of an extremely prospective yet poorly-defined aquifer system, the Mullaloo Aquifer. This highly-permeable Tertiary sand aquifer is located near the top of the Kings Park Formation and underlies superficial formations, and cuts through older Cretaceous formations beneath the Pawsey Centre.

 

The geothermal system comprises two 45 L/s production bores, four injection bores, and ten monitoring bores (plus associated pipework, headwork and monitoring infrastructure).

 

LGIS, Winton ORC electricity generation

Winton Shire Council has appointed Local Government Infrastructure Services (LGIS) to design two 181.5 kWe Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) geothermal energy plants using an existing bore which has an artesian flow of up to 72 L/s at 86°C. The Geothermal plant will generate electricity which will be sold to Ergon energy.


Geothermal operation beyond the current allocation limit requires aquifer injection. Rockwater has been engaged by LGIS to undertake a pre-feasibility assessment of aquifer injection, numerical modelling and associated field investigations and testing.


Available bore data have been reviewed with respect to geothermal injection potential. A suitable bore has been selected, based on its location, depth and construction. A numerical thermal breakthrough assessment was undertaken to confirm the doublet could be operated for at least 20 years. About 30-100% percent of the heat-depleted (60°C) groundwater will be injected into the Lower Jurassic aquifer using suitable bore(s). The remainder of the heat-depleted groundwater will be used for the town water supply.

 

Commissioning of the ORC plant is underway and work associated with aquifer injection is planned for 2018.


 

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Winton Shire Council has appointed Local Government Infrastructure Services (LGIS) to design two 181.5 kWe Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) geothermal energy plants using an existing bore which has an artesian flow of up to 72 L/s at 86°C. The Geothermal plant will generate electricity which will be sold to Ergon energy.

 

Geothermal operation beyond the current allocation limit requires aquifer injection. Rockwater has been engaged by LGIS to undertake a pre-feasibility assessment of aquifer injection, numerical modelling and associated field investigations and testing.

 

Available bore data have been reviewed with respect to geothermal injection potential. A suitable bore has been selected, based on its location, depth and construction. A numerical thermal breakthrough assessment was undertaken to confirm the doublet could be operated for at least 20 years. About 30-100% percent of the heat-depleted (60°C) groundwater will be injected into the Lower Jurassic aquifer using suitable bore(s). The remainder of the heat-depleted groundwater will be used for the town water supply.

 

Construction of the ORC plant is underway and work associated with aquifer injection is planned for late 2016.

Winton Mayor 'Butch' Lenton at one of the bores on the edge of town. Picture: Evan Morgan