Geothermal heating network in Szeged, Hungary a blueprint for European cities

Geothermal heating network in Szeged, Hungary a blueprint for European cities Szeged, Hungary (source: Pedro Lozano / flickr, Creative Commons)
Carlo Cariaga 12 Jul 2022

A geothermal heating network being built in Szeged, Hungary will help the city pivot away from imported gas and can be a blueprint for other European cities.

In the city of Szeged in Hungary, a geothermal heating network is being built with 27 wells, 16 heating plants, and 250 kilometers of distribution pipe network. Upon completion, this will be the biggest geothermal urban heating system outside of Iceland.

As a retrofit of a heating system originally built to run on gas, the Szeged geothermal heating project can also be a blueprint for cities in parts of France, Germany, Italy, or Slovakia.

“The geothermal urban heating development in Szeged is an easy-to-adopt example in many regions of Europe,” said Ladislaus Rybach from the Institute of Geophysics in Zurich. Lajos Kerekes of the Regional Center of Energy Policy Research further added that more than 25% of the EU’s population lives in areas with sufficient geothermal resource for district heating.

Adopting the model of Szeged can also help other European countries attempting to be less depending on the supply of Russian gas. In the case of Hungary, 65% of the country’s oil needs and 80% of its gas needs come from imports from Russia.

“This housing project was built in the 1980s. Since then, we have burnt millions of cubic meters of imported Russian gas to heat cold water in these apartments,” said geologist Tamas Medgyes. The shift to geothermal heating will reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60% or about 35,000 tons annually.

We first reported on the geothermal heating project in Szeged back in late 2019. It was an ambitious, large-scale project with an investment of HUF 22 billion (approx. EUR 67 million) partially funded by the EU.

Water at 92 to 93 degrees Celsius is hosted in the basin around Szeged at a depth of about 2000 meters. Heat exchangers  adjacent to the wells extract the heat from the geothermal water so the the geothermal water itself does not circulate through the pipes of the distribution network.

Source: UrduPoint