EU funding opportunity for novel geothermal drilling technology

Drilling rig on site in Cachan, Paris/ France (source: Dalkia)
Alexander Richter 18 Jan 2018

The EU Commission has an open funding opportunity for the development of novel drilling technology to help decrease the cost of geothermal drilling to depths of 5,000 meters and with temperatures higher than 250 degrees Celsius.

In October 2017, the EU Commission has released a Call for Applications: Developing solutions to Reduce the Cost and Increase Performance of Renewable Technologies.

Achieving or maintaining global leadership in renewable energy technology requires that the innovative solutions are also affordable. Therefore cost reductions remain a crucial necessity for existing or new technologies. This specific challenge is in line with the sectorial cost reduction targets stated in the respective Declarations of Intent of the SET Plan, where applicable.

The call specificially addresses geothermal and the need for the development of novel drilling technologies to reach cost-effectively depths in the order of 5 km and/or temperatures higher than 250°C.

The scope of the call also addresses these other renewable energy technologies:

  • Floating Wind – Technology development including reliable, sustainable and cost efficient anchoring and mooring system, dynamic cabling, installation techniques, and O&M concepts;
  • Onshore Wind – Disruptive technologies for the rotor, generator, drive train and support structures for the development of the advanced or next generation wind energy conversion systems;
  • Ocean: New integrated design and testing of tidal energy devices with behavioural modelling to achieve extended lifetime and high resistance in marine environment;
  • Geothermal: Novel drilling technologies need to be developed to reach cost-effectively depths in the order of 5 km and/or temperatures higher than 250°C;
  • CSP: Novel components and configurations for linear focusing and point focusing technologies need to be developed and tested;
  • Hydropower: Novel components for hydropower hydraulic and electrical machinery which allow efficient utilization also in off-design operation conditions, especially during ramp up and ramp down phases and reduce related machinery wear and tear;
  • Bioenergy: Improve small and medium-scale combined heat and power (CHP) from biomass to reduce overall costs of investments and operation through achieving at the same time high resource efficiency and high overall and electrical conversion performance.

Beside the development of the technology, the proposal will have to clearly address the following related aspects where relevant: potentially lower environmental impacts, issues related to social acceptance or resistance to new energy technologies, related socioeconomic issues.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 to 5 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The proposed solution will reduce the CAPEX and/or OPEX of energy generation from any of the mentioned renewable sources making it comparable to generation costs from competing fossil fuel sources.

Dateline for submission31 January 2018 17:00:00 (Brussels time)

Source: EU Commission