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Aussies to tap hot rocks

Spurred by high commodity prices and a drive to reduce, several companies in Australia are looking to harness hot rock to unleash green energy.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2005 10:51 IST

Generating electricity using the heat of ancient rocks buried deep below the red sands of the Australian outback? Spurred by high commodity prices and a drive to reduce Australia's reliance on coal, several companies are looking to harness hot rock temperatures of up to 300 degree Celsius to unleash green energy.

A combination of nature's bounty, government support and entrepreneurial spirit may well help Australia win the race to generate electricity for commercial purposes from the rocks, which some say could produce more than the country's known oil or coal reserves.

Based on encouraging test results, pioneer explorer Geodynamics Ltd. could make an investment decision on its first power station in early 2006, the climax of five years of drilling in the South Australian desert. "This is the best spot in the world, a geological freak," Geodynamics managing director Bertus de Graaf said. Geodynamics has completed the drilling of its two 4.5 km Habanero wells named after the world's hottest chili variety and is now testing geothermal levels in the surrounding rock to establish a proven reserve level.

First Published: Nov 15, 2005 10:51 IST