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Geothermal utilisation for power and heat in the State of Bavaria, Germany

View over Munich, Germany (source: Praxisforum Geohtermie.Bayern/ Enerchange)
Alexander Richter 13 Oct 2018

With 22 operating geothermal plants and more in development, State of Bavaria in Germany is one of the hottest geothermal markets in Europe. Six plants are producing power, of which four also produce heat and 16 plants are supplying sustainable geothermal heat to district heating systems.

There are today, six geothermal power plants in Bavaria, four of which also supply heat. There are 16 geothermal heating plants that fuel district heating systems in the State. The city of Holzkirchen is going to start the heat supply of its new geothermal plant in December this year. Drilling work has been successful for projects in Bruck near Garching (Alz) and in Munich-Sendling, and in addition to the project Dorfen, which is currently drilling its first well, more are being planned.

The latest success story comes from Garching an der Alz which announced that the well drilled to a depth of 3,832 meters successfully hit hot groundwater. The test results showed that with 125 degrees Celsius, it was hot enough and with a very good flow rate of over 105 liters per second. Drilling for the second well will start soon. Subsequently, a geothermal power plant will be built in Garching, producing at least 3.5 MW of electricity. The possibility of heat extraction is also being tested.

Heat from deep groundwater for 80,000 Munich residents

The underground of the city of Munich is blessed with hot deep groundwater, which Stadtwerke München (SWM) plans to use to supply around 80,000 Munich residents with sustainable district heating fuelled by geothermal. Several projects in the Greater Munich area are already successfully in operation, and the exploration results on the current SWM project in Munich-Sendling are promising. From 2020, the largest geothermal heating plant in Central Europe is scheduled to go into operation with 50 MW of heat output .

Bavaria offers good conditions

Special geological conditions are needed to economically exploit the depth of geothermal energy. These are present in Southern Bavaria with a large coherent and very productive thermal aquifer in the Upper Jurassic, as the research project Isomol shows. Meanwhile, 53 wells open up the Upper Jurassic thermal water level, of which 44 are in operation and produce or re-inject, four more are still in the construction phase, four in the redesign and one well was abandoned. This makes Bavaria a leader in Germany and plays a central role in technology development and geothermal energy use in Central Europe as well. The geothermal potential is to be further developed.

The upcoming Praxisforum Geothermie.Bayern (16-18 October 2018) will cover development, technology and an outlook for the sector in Bavaria and beyond.

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