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Belgium joins geothermal power generating countries with new Balmatt plant

Drilling rig on site at Balmatt, Flemish Region, Belgium (source: Facebook/ Balmatt-site)
Alexander Richter 26 Jun 2019

Belgium has joined the countries generating power from geothermal energy with the new 4-5 MW Balmatt geothermal power plant starting operation.

In an operational overview, the Balmatt team of the geothermal project in Mol, Belgium provides details on the deep geothermal plant in Mol. Without becoming too technical, it shared key facts.

  • Since the partial completion of the plant on 14th May 2019, it has operated for 16 days accumulatively, with a last joint period of 10 days. This means about 46 % up-time. Hence, the project team has succeeded in a relative short period of time to define a “modus operandus” where 24/7 green heat has been produced.
  • The buildings of VITO/SCK/Belgoprocess are heated through the heat network with geothermal heat and the remainder of the heat has been used to produce electricity. With the current operational parameters and a production temperature of 121 °C aboveground, the Balmatt central produces about 4-5 MW, or in total 1,7 GWh. The water is re-injected at 55-60 °C.
  • The Traffic Light System or TLS, part of our safety system, was not activated during the operational period of the plant. The reasons for shutting down the plant were problems with seals in the aboveground circuit or external factors, such as a drop of voltage on the general electricity network.
  • On Sunday 23rd June 2019, 2 days after terminating the longest operational period, an induced earthquake has occurred close to the injection well MOL-GT-02 with a magnitude Ml=2.1 The project team and partners are further investigating the data from the own seismo meter network to better characterize this event. You can also follow these and other data of the TLS yourself via https://vito.be/nl/vito-seismometernetwerk-onderzoekt-aardbevingen

The Balmatt team has since announced a public information meeting in response to the earthquake with a magnitude of 2,1 on the Richter Scale. VITO invites the residents of Mol and Dessel to a public information meeting. The meeting will take place on Thursday 18 July 2019 in the VITO conference room.

Source: Company release