“The present project aims to create a proof of concept of the technical and economic feasibility at laboratory scale for new routes to valorise critical metals from such high-performance geothermal systems“
Metals removal can increase the economic feasibility of geothermal investments, even in circumstances when the occurrence of metals is a subject of accidence, rather than result of careful planning. While geothermal energy systems connote an attractive source for renewable heat and power, the requirements for economically viable and sustained geothermal production are mostly constrained to geographic locations with hot rock sources, typically beyond 3 km and embracing >150°C. In order to improve the economic viability of geothermal projects, geothermal power generation could be coupled with the extraction of commercial minerals. If new hydro-
metallurgical techniques for the isolation, extraction and purification of these minerals would be developed then the technological challenges associated with brine content of hydrothermal fluids could be turned into a unique technological opportunity for Europe in meeting its energy demands and satisfying its needs for critical metallic minerals. The conceptual backbone of the CHPM facility will be a suitable orebody located at great depths, where the ambient rock temperatures allow for the development of a highly specialised Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) which will be manipulated using novel geo-engineering approaches for maximum power output and the mobilisation of valuable metals. The present project aims to create a proof of concept of the technical and economic feasibility at laboratory scale for new routes to valorise critical metals from such high-performance geothermal systems. Experiences gained during In-Situ Leaching (ISL) production methods will be considered, with the main difference that in ISL emphasis is on fast metal production, where strong chemicals are used and the associated environmental consequences can be substantial. In CHPM2030 the main emphasis is on energy, and metals are considered by-products that are expected to support the economic feasibility of heat and power generation over an extended period of time in an integrated system.