Geothermal plant supplying heat to greenhouses in Almeria, Spain

Geothermal plant supplying heat to greenhouses in Almeria, Spain Wellhead at project of Cardial in Almeria, Spain (source: Cyopsa)
Alexander Richter 20 Feb 2022

A new geothermal facility and the first in Spain has launched supplying geothermal heat to greenhouse operations in Nijar, Almeria.

The Almeria town of Níjar hosts the first plant that uses geothermal energy to supply heating to agricultural crops in Spain, as reported locally.  We previously reported on the project being developed by the company Cardial.

Under the soil of Campo de Nijar (Almeria) there is a natural wealth that has motivated an innovative project for the benefit of the agricultural sector. It began in March 2020 and this Monday, February 7, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has seen it first-hand.

It is the first plant in Spain that will take advantage of geothermal energy to supply cheap and renewable heating to agriculture. Specifically, it will allow heating the crops that are in greenhouses in Almeria.

The geothermal plant has been built by the Almeria-based company Cardial Recursos Alternativos to make the most of the potential of an area that has two key natural elements . One is water and the other is heat energy. The company itself explains on its website how it has made the project a reality.

At an average depth of 1,600 meters, a water resource was first found with an average temperature of 100 degrees Celsius.

But those explorations allowed to discover an underground sea of thousands of hectares of extension. It is under the region of Nijar. The water it contains contains minerals, so it is not suitable for human or agricultural use, but it is useful to be heated naturally. Thanks to the other existing element: internal volcanic activity.

Although it has been extinct for thousands of years, it remains an intact , exploitable and inexhaustible resource , since it is used in a closed cycle. Hot water is extracted for use and then returned to the reservoir to restart the process.

Benefits for greenhouses

After the survey, Cardial has built the distribution and pipeline network so that the geothermal energy can reach the greenhouses. In these, “at the end of autumn is when the control of temperature jumps for crops is most necessary,” explains the company.

Farmers who have this natural heating “will be pioneers in verifying the benefits of this model that allows a better yield of plantations in an estimated proportion of kilos per hectare”. In addition to lengthening the productive period and the volume of production per square meter, there are no polluting emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere.

“It is only comparable with sealed glass greenhouses, with the difference that the cost of energy consumption is much lower and the most demanding environmental quality certifications are met “, they highlight from Cardial.

The project is subsidized with European FEDER funds. Pedro Sánchez has reminded the media that “EUR 60 million are being linked to 44 renewable energy projects , five of them linked to deep geothermal energy “.

Source: Nius Diario