Austria plans large 40 MW thermal geothermal heating plant

Concept overview Aspern Seestadt, Vienna/ Austria (source:
Alexander Richter 11 Nov 2011

By mid-2012, drilling is to start for Austria's largest geothermal heating plant project in Aspern in proximity to the country's capital Vienna. The 40 MW thermal project is expected to cost around US$64 million and drill to a depth of 5,000 meters.

Reported in local news from Austria, a new geothermal project is expected to utilize the experience of “unsuccessful” oil & gas exploration by Austrian oil & gas player OMV to produce hot water for local district heating.

The water found back then has a temperature of about 150 degrees Celsius and could now be utilized for district heating purposes. The project is located in Aspern and is expected to provide up to 40 MW of thermal energy. It would be in a position to provide heating for up to 40,000 households and companies. Any excess heat could be supplied to the district heating network of the city of Vienna. The main heat supply is to be provided to a new development, called Aspern Seestadt.

The emission savings are about 130,000 tonnes of CO2 compared to a traditional fossil fuel based district heating. The thermal water is expected to also contain methanol, which will be extracted and used to provide the plant’s electricity needs.

The project expects that it needs to drill down 5,000 meters. The project company “Geothermiezentrum Aspern GmbH” was founded by Wien Energie, the local utility in the country’s capital.

The investment needed is around EUR 45 million (US$64 million). The drilling rig will be built up on a former airfield and is expected to start drilling the production well in mid-2012. A re-injection well is expected to be drilled until the end of 2012 in around 10 meters distance and will be shorter than the 5,000 meter planned production well.

This second well is to be drilled to a depth of 3,600 meters and directionally so that the both wells will essentially be 2,000 meters apart from each other.

The reservoir is expected to be rather large and sufficient for the project.

One question remains though, if the water is 150 degrees hot, why is geothermal power not an option?

Source: Der Standard (in German) – Thank you to Jonas Ketilsson of Orkustofnun to send this in.