Sufficient geothermal resources to replace coal use in Poland

Turow coal power plant, Poland (source: commons Wikimedia/ vondraussen, CC-BY-3.0)
Carlo Cariaga Carlo Cariaga 7 Mar 2019

The potential of geothermal resources in Poland is comparable to the energy contained in domestic hard coal and lignite deposits according to Dr. Marek Kazmierczak, president of the Association for Sustainable Development of Geothermal Energy.

Perspectives on the development of geothermal energy were one of the topics of the meeting of the parliamentary team for Krupinski mine and technology of underground coal gasification, held last week.

The team deals with mineral and natural resources of Poland and the possibilities of their effective use in the energy sector for building energy independence. In the opinion of the team leader, Jacek Wilk, Poland is currently not using its natural resources properly, with geothermal resources being one of such unused areas.

During the meeting of the team, Dr. Marek Kazmierczak quoted the data showing that the energy resources contained in geothermal waters, up to a depth of 3 km, exceed national energy consumption by more than 120 times. As he said, it illustrates the scale on which these renewable sources could be used. Water is available in many regions of Poland – the largest in the diagonal belt running through the center of the country, from Szczecin to Rzeszów.

The expert assessed that in order to use these resources most effectively, it would be necessary to reach a depth below 3 km, making at least 4-kilometer wells.

“Then the water has a temperature above 100 degrees, even 120-140 degrees Celsius. If we expand it on the surface, we get steam – the steam condensation is much more than the cooling of water from one hundred to several tens of degrees; the essential amount of energy is in the evaporation and condensation of water.”, explained Dr. Kazmierczak.

The energy is accumulated not only in waters, but also in hot underground rocks, at a depth of approx. 5-6 km. According to the president of the association, getting to get to such a depth will take several weeks. The estimated cost of the well to a depth of about 4 km is PLN 30 million.

The experts mentioned Kalisz, Konin, Kolo, and Sieradz as good places for locating geothermal installations, among others. It is estimated that at least 2000 geothermal installations could be created in Poland, with a total energy potential of 2 to 4 gigawatts of electricity. In the opinion of Dr. Kazmierczak, the profitability of these investments will depend on year-round use of heat from such installations, not only for heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer, but also for agricultural production.

Source: BiznesAlert / Polish Press Agency