With grant funding under the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), we reported earlier this month, a geothermal project in Almeria, Spain is kicking off work to utilise geothermal energy beneath the Níjar region to heat the greenhouses.
The project is headed by the Almeria-based company Cardial, belonging to the Cyopsa Group, with headquarters in the Almería Technological Science Park (PITA) and with facilities located in the Níjar field, where it drills to access the areas of high temperatures that are located at high depths.
The project contemplates reaching depths of more than two thousand meters to take advantage of that heat to heat the interior of the greenhouses. Previous studies indicate that at a depth between 1,700 and 1,800 meters the temperature is around 125 degrees Celsius . Some 800 meters below it rises to 220 degrees, the maximum level to which it is planned to descend in this search for the heat of the depths of the earth.
It is not the only experience that is being developed in the province for its application to agriculture; In the research center of the Tecnova Foundation, north of the town of El Alquián, tests have already been carried out with thermal waters extracted from deep wells for its climate control project that seeks to increase the productivity of the Almeria greenhouses, still far away of other models like the one that is exploited in Holland.
According to Cardial, the first exploitation well has been completed in Campo de Níjar (Almería). According to the first tests, the 2,000 meter borehole reaches a temperature in its lower zone of 105 ºC, which confirms the enormous geothermal potential hidden under the soil of Almeria. The drilling process for this well has also allowed the Cardial team to acquire valuable experience and knowledge in order to tackle the next wells, which will foreseeably reach a depth of 2,500 meters. The future borehole network will allow Cardial to supply thermal energy to as many greenhouses as possible.
This first survey is a decisive step for the implementation of deep geothermal energy in Spain.
In this regard, the company reported a few months ago that the good progress of the works “allows establishing the first supply forecasts and thus, if no geological barriers are found, the estimates are to be able to provide the first megawatts of thermal energy this to greenhouse operations this year”.
The provision of geothermal energy allows Almeria greenhouses to achieve an efficiency only comparable to watertight glass greenhouses, with the difference that the cost of energy consumption is much lower and fully compatible with the most demanding environmental quality certifications. The use of geothermal energy for air conditioning does not have any type of CO2 emission into the atmosphere ”.
The battle to increase productivity
The exploitation of the earth’s heat, geothermal energy, is an ally in the struggle that the Tecnova Foundation researchers maintain to increase the productivity of winter crops.
According to previous data, the Almeria greenhouse produces around 30 or 35 kilos per hectare , while the Dutch one exceeds 70. The ‘secret’ is in climate control, which in Almería will be based on renewables.
Source: La Voz de Almería