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Masdar starts GCC's first geothermal project

US $11 billion scheme to get under way by end-2009

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Masdar officials with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of the UAE, at last year's Zayed Future Energy Prize.
Masdar officials with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of the UAE, at last year's Zayed Future Energy Prize.

Masdar City has outlined plans to establish the Gulf’s first geothermal energy project to generate electricity and fuel the landmark project’s cooling system, according to a local newspaper.

The National daily says that Masdar-contracted engineers have set a start date of November 1 to begin drilling two four-kilometre wells. Water circulated through the wells will be heated into steam, which will turn generators and directly power air conditioning systems.

“We have found that Abu Dhabi has a very good chance to generate energy from geothermal sources,” said Sanad Ahmed, a senior project manager at Masdar, according to the paper.

“It’s one of the cheapest sources for renewable energy available.”

The total cost of the scheme has been estimated at US $11 billion, and Masdar has already handed out a $1.6 million drilling contract to Iceland’s Reykjavik Geothermal. Another five or six contractors are projected to be hired before the end of the year.

A provisional well has already been drilled by ADNOC to a depth of 6 kilometres, about 15 kilometres from the Masdar City site.

If the drilling is successful, Masdar hopes to be able to provide 5MW of electricity from the source.

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