EU-funded study to look into emissions from geothermal applications
A EU-funded study on 'Geothermal plants' and applications' emissions' has been started by a consortium of Ernst & Young, RINA and VITO, inviting now geothermal plant owners, environmental agencies, and other sectoral stakeholders to contribute to the data collection process with relevant expertise and emissions data.
The European Commission has committed a study on ‘Geothermal plants’ and applications’ emissions: overview and analysis’ to Ernst & Young, RINA and VITO to provide a consistent, harmonized and exhaustive assessment about the possible release of greenhouse gases and other pollutant emissions in geothermal sector. The study started on 8 November 2018 and it will last 14 months, focusing on electricity production and heating & cooling applications, as described on the website of VITO.
Owing to the uniqueness of each geothermal reservoir and the numerous technological options to produce and utilize geothermal energy, a robust methodological approach for data collection will be designed, through the development of a strategy clustering the installations by geographical and technological representativeness. In order to solve any potential issue of fragmentation of information, uncertainty and doubts about the reliability of data and methods, the process will include a validation step through a panel of sectoral stakeholders.
Once the methodology will be defined and validated, and the boundaries of the study clarified, a comprehensive data collection activity will be performed, following the principles of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. Specific sectoral rules for LCA will be set up and applied in order to guarantee a robust, consistent and transparent method to assess the potential impacts of the geothermal sector on human health and environment, for the various types of geographies and technologies.
The outcome of this study will consist in an in-depth, independent and reliable analysis of the emissions from the comprehensive spectrum of geothermal plants and applications, based on life cycle approach. This will provide the European Commission with a complete overview of emissions and potential impacts on environment and human health, that can represent a solid basis to build future policy developments.
The consortium invites geothermal plant owners, environmental agencies, and other sectoral stakeholders to contribute to the data collection process with relevant expertise and emissions data.