GéoAtlantic – a European geothermal energy meeting in Bordeaux

Planned geothermal heating plant of Plaine de Garonne (source: Engie)
Alexander Richter 24 Feb 2020

A large group of European geothermal energy players recently met in Bordeaux, France as part of the GéoAtlantic project. The participants were introduced to the ambitious district heating project to tap into geothermal energy.

On Tuesday, February 18 at the Cité du vin de Bordeaux, around fifty European geothermal players gathered to discuss innovations and projects as part of the 7th International GeoAtlantic Meeting . The opportunity for Bordeaux Métropole to shine thanks to the city’s geothermal district heating from an aquifer, a project led by Bordeaux Métropole Energie through its subsidiary Mixéner.

“The geothermal energy sector must today improve its role as a major player in the energy transition of the territories”, announces François Menet-Haure, director of the ALEC (Local Energy and Climate Agency ) Bordeaux metropolis and Gironde during the opening of the event. This development of the geothermal activity is underway in the European Union and the various players from Spain, the United Kingdom or Portugal have paved the way for our territories here in Gironde. The New Aquitaine Region is also a privileged place for the exploitation of geothermal resources since it is the second deposit in France for geothermal activity.

For Bordeaux Métropole Energie, it is the district heating project to tap into local aquifer that constitutes the pride of the teams. Indeed, since the creation of the company Energie des Bassins dedicated to the establishment of the district heat network, combining geothermal energy, biomass boiler and utilising heat from waste water from the Louis Fargue treatment plant, the Bassins district à flot benefits from a centralized heating system made up of 70% renewable energy produced locally. It is this system that allows the heating of the Cité du vin to work. The heating network tapping into the aquifer has no less than 4 kilometers of pipes and 107 delivery points for a total amount of the project estimated at EUR 32 million. A necessary investment according to Vincent Dessane,

For its part, the Cité du vin, in addition to opting for the heating network, relies on cooling through pumping water directly into the Garonne, a system that has less impact on the environment than classic air system. Consisting of 4 wells, respectively 35, 40 and 50 meters deep, drilled in surface water near the Garonne. With water leaving the system, which is around 32 degrees, the system allows a discharge directly into the Garonne, because this heat has no impact on the biodiversity of the river since it is around 23 m3 per hour (the Garonne flow is 631 m3/ S). Thus the Cité du Vin enjoys a stable temperature throughout the year which is of capital importance since the museum hosts major works, very sensitive to changes in temperature.