Consortium chosen to research risks of ultra deep geothermal and EGS in the Netherlands

Drilling rig on site on Bergschenhoek project site, Netherlands (source: Zublin)
Alexander Richter 4 May 2018

A consortium of Dutch Witteveen + Bos, German Q-Con, Belgian Vito, the TU Delft, Newell and lawyers of Weisenborn-Linkskaill have been commissioned by the State Supervision of Mines to investigates the risks of Ultra Deep Geothermal Energy and EGS work in the Netherlands.

In a release on its website, Dutch engineering group Witteveen + Bos, announces having been commissioned by State Supervision of Mines (SSM) to investigate the risks of Ultra Deep Geothermal Energy (UDG) and Enhanced Geothermal Systems in the Netherlands. Witteveen + Bos does this in cooperation with the German company Q-Con, the Belgian Vito, the TU Delft, Newell and the lawyers of Weisenborn-Linskaill & Associates.

Based on the government’s Energy Agreement, the Netherlands faces the major challenge of making the energy supply more sustainable. Ultra Deep Geothermal Energy (UDG) has a great potential to meet the sustainable heat demand of mainly industry. UDG is drilling for heat deeper than 4 kilometers. At this depth you will find water in the Netherlands of more than 120 degrees Celsius, which can be converted into steam. Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are special drilling and stimulation techniques that are needed to extract hot water at this great depth.

The UDG project is stimulated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) and Energy Management Netherlands (EBN). In the summer of 2017 a ‘green deal’ was concluded between EZK, EBN, TNO and seven consortia with various market parties. These consortia are currently working out plans to place test drillings for the extraction of ultra-deep geothermal energy at various locations in the Netherlands in the not too distant future.

However, SSM is of the opinion that the risks in the area of health, safety and the environment have not yet been adequately inventoried. For example, it is possible that in some places earthquakes are induced during drilling and winning. By properly mapping the potential risks, SSM will be better able to monitor by prescribing guidelines and legal measures. It is in everyone’s interest that the future extraction of ultra-deep geothermal energy is carefully done so that safety for local residents and the surrounding area is guaranteed.

The project is divided into two parts: (1) an inventory of all possible risks and (2) the setting up of a framework with measures to manage these risks properly. There are highly experienced experts in the team, and Witteveen + Bos strives for a strong multidisciplinary and scientific approach. The scientific level is also guaranteed by the efforts of TU Delft and the use of external scientific testing. The research results are expected to become available by early 2019 at the latest.

Source: Witteveen Bos