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The first Belgian geothermal project has started drilling in Flanders

Antwerp, Belgium (source: flickr/ Russ Bowling, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 18 Oct 2015

An ambitious geothermal pilot project has started drilling in Flanders, Belgium, and if successful could open the door for a huge expansion for heating and if possible electricity generation as well.

Reported by local news outlet Flanders today, drilling has started for a geothermal project in Flanders, Belgium. The drilling campaign aiming at a depth of 4,000 meters, is the first phase of this pilot project in Mol, in the province of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium. The Flemish Region of Belgium (or Flanders) is a Dutch-speaking area in the north of Belgium.

The project has been prepared for the last five years by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Vito). “The researchers first mapped in detail the deep subsurface of the Mol region to a depth of more than 4km, using seismic data obtained using ground impact systems known as thumper trucks. Vito’s prognosis is that hot water will be found at a depth of about 3.5km, at a temperature of more than 120 degrees Celsius.

A team of about 20 engineers from the Flemish Smet Group drilling company and Germany’s THV Balmatt Drilling are working on site. The overall goal is to supply energy to the whole of the Kempen area in Antwerp and Limburg.

The project expects to have details on flow rates and temperatures from the well by December. “If the water is at least 90 degrees Celsius, we can use it for heating purposes,” says Geert De Meyer, Vito’s geothermal development manager. “If it’s about 120 degrees, we can convert the heat to electricity.”

If the results of the pilot project are positive, a second drilling project will be launched in January. By next October, the energy would be used to heat the headquarters of Vito itself. “By 2017, the headquarters should be completely heated in a sustainable way,” says De Meyer. “Part of our electricity consumption should then also be covered by geothermal energy.”

With the goal of supplying energy to the whole area of around 1,600 square kilometres, there would be a need for around 100 plants  with about five wells per plant, production and re-injection wells.

The currently planned investment volume for the Balmatt/ Mol project is at around EUR22 million ($25 million). The drilling cost is expected at EUR 7 million ($8 million) and is funded by Vito and the government of Flanders, whose part is EUR 2 million. For the future plan of 100 plants an investment volume of EUR 6 billion ($7 billion) would be required.

The project is also expected to greatly benefit the local economy, creating direct and indirect jobs.

For further details on the project and background, check out the original article, see link below.

Source: Flanders Today