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Project Description

The Deep Heat Mining Project in Basel was a ground-breaking Swiss energy research project that planned to build a pilot plant for a geothermal power station using the Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) or 'petrothermal energy generation'. This entails forcing a cold liquid, usually water, down into hot rock, where it heats up before being conveyed back up to the surface to be used to generate heat or electricity.

In the medium term, the project was intended to generate environmentally-friendly power, harnessing Swiss energy sources and lowering the country's reliance on imported electricity. A pilot plant, due to be built in Basel, was supposed to generate 6 MW of electricity and 17 MW of heat, whilst emitting hardly any CO2 and barely producing any waste. This output would have sufficed to meet the energy needs of around 10,000 households and the heating requirements of 2,700 homes. The plan was to drill to a depth of 5,000 metres to exploit the temperatures of 200°C there.

The intended site of the future geothermal power plant was the Basel Industrial Works (IWB) site in Basel-Kleinhüningen. From there, the heat could have been injected into the extensively developed municipal district heating system. During the summer months, when there is low demand for district heating, the plant would mainly have generated power.