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Successful launch of European EGS Conference May 25, 2012

Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 12 Jun 2012

The inaugural International Conference on Enhanced Geothermal Systems in Freiburg, Germany was held successfully at the end of May this year and has shown that many new EGS projects are already in progress and that there is a drive in advancing EGS technology.

The inaugural International Conference on Enhanced Geothermal Systems in Freiburg, Germany has shown that many new EGS projects are already in progress and that there is a drive in advancing EGS technology.

About a week ago the first international conference on the deployment of EGS technology in deep geothermal projects in Europe successfully closed. The International Conference on Enhanced Geothermal Systems (ICEGS) in Freiburg, saw participants and speakers from Germany, Israel, Switzerland, France, the United States, Slovakia, Norway, the Netherlands and Japan discussing experiences and the outlook of existing and planned EGS as well as the current need for research and development.

The conference highlighted again that there is a large set of experiences from EGS projects. Examples covered included the projects Le-Mayet-de-Montagne and Soultz-sous-Forêts in Frnace, the Fention Hill project started int he 1970s in the U.S. and the Innamincka Deeps project in the Cooper Basin. The latter was presented by Heinz Holl of Australian Geodynamics via live video conference. There are also projects in development in Switzerland and the Alsace in France – despite the experiences of seismic events in Basel in 2006, which meant the preliminary end tot he project there.

After the projects presentations five experts from the U.S., France and Germany provided an overview on the state of technology and the need for further research. In addition to the geomechanical processes, Emmanual Gaucher of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology and Stefan Baisch of company q-con, particularly covered the experiences with induced seismicity in the Australian Cooper Basin, in Basel, Soultz-sous-Forêts and Landau. Both speakers recommended that the size of stimulated fractures to be decreased and that instead more smaller areas should be stimulated. Furthermore it is essential that the individual project communicates extensively with the public. In her presentation, Simona Regenspurg of GFZ Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam described the impact of geothermal stimulation on the environment. She particularly highlighted the possible impact on ground water levels as well as necessary security precautions to protect against critical gas emissions, liquids and other elements that could possibly be resolved through stimulation activities in the deep rock formations.

In his keynote at the closing discussion, Thomas Kölbel of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg clarified on how future EGS projects can be realized from the perspective of a utility. Particularly he mentioned that heat-only projects should not be excluded as option. In the final discussion the clear message came across that further research is needed, but also that data of real projects needs to be generated. Various interesting and new data and details are expected from the the U.S. based EGS projects, but also from the Innamincka Deeps project in Australia. China should also be on the radar, so Professor Ladislaus Rybach of ETH Zürich, as there are several projects planned.

Accompanying tot he conference, an international poster exhibition of current EGS projects was featured. Projects presented included: the project of Stadtwerke Münster at Lüneburger Heide/ Germany, the ECOGI project (Exploitation of Geothermal Heat for Industry) in Rittershoffen in the Alsace/ France, the CT-Must-Project of the International Geothermal Center Bochum/ Germany, the Paralana project of Petratherm in South Australia, as well as the „Parenco Papermil“ and „Hoogeveen“ projects of the Dutch Consulting and Engineering company IF Technology.

The presentations of the ICEGS 2012 have been made available on www.icegs.eu to participants and are available for purchase for those who did not attend.

Source: ICEGS 2012