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Dutch “ultra-deep” geothermal drilling project in Almere, Netherlands

Drilling rig on geothermal project in the Netherlands (source: screenshot, OmroepFlevoland)
Alexander Richter 9 Sep 2017

The municipality in Almere in the Netherlands is looking at the development of a ultra-deep geothermal project, drilling down more than 4,000 meters for a district heating project.

Already reported last month, the city of Almere in the Netherlands is planning to utilise geothermal energy for heating purposes and the plans are becoming increasingly concrete. The project aims to drill down more than 4,000 meters, which is considered “ultra-deep”, to pump down water and re-pump heated up to the surface to be used for heating homes.

Ultra-deep geothermal activity is still new in the Netherlands, but Almere is one step further. Research from TNO revealed last year that the subsurface beneath the municipality is suitable for this kind of geothermal heat. For Almere and the province of Flevoland this is the reason to continue the development. There are now three pilot projects in Almere. It is not known when they will start drilling.

In the Netherlands, there is little knowledge about drilling to this depth ore more. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is therefore engaged in a broad research into ultra-deep geothermal energy with other institutions. The same ministry’s supervisory body, the State Supervision of the Mines, came up with a serious warning last month; There is insufficient attention to the risks of drilling, and in the case of ultra-well drilling, the danger is even higher. This includes the possibility of earthquakes. This has already happened in Germany and Switzerland. These warnings have been described as too sensational and not deeply founded as we reported about earlier.

The inflow of hot water from the earth is not new. Geothermal energy  has already been utilised in the Netherlands for the last up to 10 years, but so far not deeper than 2,000 to 3,000 meters have been drilled. There is water 60 to 80 degrees Celsius, and that heat is used for the horticulture sector. Almere needs water of a higher temperature because the city wants to use it for heating homes. This is the reason why the project is now targeting deeper resources.

Source: Omroep Flevoland