Turning Controversy into Clean Energy: Yorkshire Fracking Site Transformed
In a remarkable turnaround, a once-controversial fracking site in North Yorkshire is poised to become a pioneering geothermal energy extraction facility. Third Energy, previously embroiled in heated debates over fracking in the former Ryedale district, is joining forces with CeraPhi Energy2 to launch the UK’s inaugural geothermal well. This innovative initiative aims to extract clean, renewable energy from deep underground without disturbing the region’s geology
From Fracking Site to Geothermal Pioneer: Starting next month, the Kirby Misperton KM8 well site, formerly known for months of protests following North Yorkshire County Council’s approval for hydraulic fracturing in 2016, will transition into an operational test site for geothermal energy production. CPRENEY welcomes this planned transition away from fracking which we fought hard to oppose both at the KM8 site locally but also with colleagues across the country in our successful campaign which resulted in a national moratorium against the controversial extraction technique.
CeraPhi’s Innovative Approach: CeraPhi Energy2 brings patented technologies to the table. These innovations enable the conversion of aging wells by sealing their bottoms and employing a closed-tube system with circulating fluids to harness subterranean heat. Importantly, this method preserves rock formations, subsurface systems, and fluids, making it an eco-friendly alternative. Often likened to a refrigerator’s reverse process, this technique operates without emitting carbon dioxide.
Unlocking the Potential: The project has the potential to convert approximately 680 oil and gas wells across the UK, including over 200 in Lincolnshire and the North-East, with a dozen in Kirby Misperton alone.
Geothermal Energy’s Versatile Applications: Initial tests at the KM8 well site reveal temperatures of around 110°C at its 3-kilometer-deep bottom. When transferred to the surface via liquid, temperatures are expected to reach up to 90°C. This heat source can provide energy to heat around 400 homes for approximately four decades. Additionally, the potential applications extend to large-scale agricultural projects in controlled environments, powering distilleries, and supporting agricultural crop drying.
Exploring Opportunities: Feasibility studies are underway to determine the viability of using the KM8 well’s heat for a local swimming pool, but could also be used for alcohol distillation, or to power anaerobic digesters.
A Bright Future for Rural Areas: This project’s potential extends to rural regions, where geothermal wells like KM8 could serve as the foundation for zero-carbon housing estates. These communities would access clean energy through a flat-rate connection charge, making sustainability more accessible and affordable.
Community Support and Environmental Impact: Steve Mason, a director at Third Energy, influential anti-fracking campaigner and member of CPRENEY highlights the overwhelming community support for this shift in direction. “The geothermal plans received approximately 80% approval in a Ryedale District Council poll last year. This initiative has not only mended community divisions as a result of the proposed fracking but also aligns with the broader goals of rural decarbonization and sustainable energy solutions.”
Conclusion: The transformation of the Kirby Misperton KM8 well site from a symbol of controversy to a hub of clean, renewable geothermal energy signifies innovation and sustainability in the face of environmental challenges. This project showcases the potential of technology and community support in creating a more sustainable and greener future, particularly in rural areas. It represents a significant step toward decarbonization and sustainable energy in the UK’s evolving energy landscape.