Hot rocks to cool the west

The University of Western Australia is set to become the first site in Australia to receive geothermal-powered air conditioning after striking a deal with Perth-based company Green Rock Energy.

New legislation has paved the way for two wells 3km deep to be drilled on the university’s Crawley campus, one to draw heated water from a reservoir buried deep beneath sedimentary rock below and the other to return cooled water to the subterranean channel.

Geothermal drilling has gained traction in Europe in recent years as a renewable source of energy for heating. Green Rock plan to use geothermal powered absorption chillers to reverse the process and provide an alternative to existing compressed chiller plants in the university. The company, which has similar projects in Europe, has recently been granted three additional permits to explore the potential for expanding its operations in the Perth area.

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