Scientists treat high acidity levels at Biliran geothermal site

Scientists treat high acidity levels at Biliran geothermal site

The developer of the Biliran geothermal project in Leyte has found a way to address the high acidity from the brine of the drilled wells, inching them a step closer to generating power from the site.

Biliran Geothermal Inc. said in a statement that Filipino scientists conducted a series of tests that treated the acidic nature of the fluids.

“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.

“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,” said Nilo Apuada, a geophysicist at BGI.

The FMS treatment is the injection of chemicals into the wells to treat high levels of acidity and involves studying the geochemistry and accurate dosage and utilization of chemicals.

This is one of the largest greenfield geothermal projects in the country with a potential of 350 megawatts.

“We took every consideration and precaution to ensure the management of the available resources to arrive at favorable test results so we could move on to the next phase of the project, which is the construction of the geothermal power plant,” said BGI project director Danilo Catigtig.

The completion of the project could give electricity not just to Biliran Island but the entire region 8.

Initial development on the site began in the 80s, but was not completed due to the geothermal brine’s acidity.

Last year, Emerging Power Inc. (EPI) bought 60 percent of BGI and continued the development. Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), one of the country’s biggest mining firms, owns  majority of EPI.

*Photo from Shutterstock