Filipino scientists have found a way to address the acidity of the Biliran geothermal power project in Leyte for its successful development.
Biliran Geothermal Inc. disclosed in a statement over the weekend that a series of tests effectively treated the acidic nature of the fluids from the drilled wells, making the field fit for the generation of geothermal power.
The company said initial developments in the Biliran site started in the 1980s but the 49-megawatt project was not completed due to acidity of the geothermal brine.
Biliran is considered one of the largest greenfield geothermal projects in the Philippines with a potential of 350 MW.
“Acidic wells are very problematic. This is a challenge faced by every geothermal energy developer much like Biliran,” said Aylmer Marbello, a Biliran geothermal geologist.
Emerging Power Inc. last year acquired 60 percent of BGI and proceeded with the development of the project. Emerging Power is majority owned by Nickel Asia Corp., one of the country’s biggest mining companies.
“When we completed the drilling, majority of the wells were acidic. We had to address the situation to ensure the success of the project. After a number of studies, we identified the solution we now call as the FMS,” Biliran geothermal geophysicist Nilo Apuada said.
The FMS involves the injection of chemicals into the wells to treat the acidity, making the brine acceptable for use in the generation of geothermal power. It entails careful and rigid monitoring of the well geochemistry and correct dosage and application of chemicals.
The chemical treatment was used in the Miravelles geothermal field in Costa Rica, where the geothermal brine required treatment for acidity.