Geothermal power plants have zero impact on GHG emissions, affirms study

Geothermal power plants have zero impact on GHG emissions, affirms study Geothermal Trekking, Tuscany (source: Fabio Sartori, Enel Green Power)
Carlo Cariaga 25 Apr 2022

The results of the Deep Carbon project further reinforces the identification of geothermal energy as a sustainable resource with carbon emissions below threshold levels.

The results of a study done by the Deep Carbon project has affirmed that the generation of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) in geothermal areas does not increase as a result of geothermal power production. More specifically, the total emissions remain constant and are merely split between natural emissions and emission from the geothermal power plants.

With these results, geothermal energy can be officially classified as a sustainable resource that falls below the threshold value of 100 grams CO2e/kWh. The final studies have been published in the Energies journal and have been presented in a workshop in Larderello last December which we had previously written about.

The Deep Carbon project is a joint effort of research centers and national academics with the participation of Italian renewable energy company Enel Green Power. Among the participants are the University of Pisa, the University of Rome, and the Polytechnic of Milan.

The results of the study verifies the concept of “Substitutive Emissions” of geothermal power plants that states that the CO2 emissions of geothermal power plants will also have been released to the atmosphere via natural means if there was no geothermal power generation. This was also the concept that was implemented in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) done on Italian geothermal power plants by Rina Consulting.

Source: Enel