ThinkGeoEnergy – Geothermal Energy News

Local partners target geothermal for heat in NRW, Germany

Municipalities and companies want to make geothermal energy usable in the State of  North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in Germany, as reported by Fraunhofer IEG this week.

The three consortia Düsseldorf-Duisburg, Straelen and Düren-Kreuzau are the winners in the state competition “Heat from deep geothermal energy for North Rhine-Westphalia”. Fraunhofer IEG is involved in all three projects and contributes its expertise in deep geothermal energy and modern heating networks. The three consortia are now preparing feasibility studies and developing concepts on how deep geothermal energy can be integrated into a sustainable heat supply for citizens, agriculture and industry.

“Municipal and industrial heating transition is half the energy transition. And deep geothermal energy can make a significant contribution to sustainable heat supply,” explains Professor Rolf Bracke, head of Fraunhofer IEG. “We look forward to working with our partners to design the contributions specifically and to integrate them into the local heat supply concepts.”

Economics and Energy Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart: “We are advancing the heating transition in North Rhine-Westphalia. Deep geothermal energy offers great potential here, which we want to make better use of. I am very pleased with the great interest in the competition and the high-quality applications from all parts of the country. This shows: the municipalities are a reliable partner when it comes to promoting the climate-friendly local heat supply and utilizing deep geothermal energy in the area. ”

All three consortia that have now been selected want to develop heat from the subsurface, but differ in the possible heat applications.

The metropolitan areas of Düsseldorf and Duisburg have large fossil-fuel district heating networks, which they now want to convert to climate-friendly heat sources such as geothermal energy. The project first characterizes the subsurface on the basis of existing data and, based on this, plans an exploration program to close the data gaps. The Düsseldorf airport and other district heating feed-in points form the focus in the Düsseldorf area. Fraunhofer IEG also develops solutions for connecting new heat sources to existing networks. Promising thermal water-bearing geological limestone layers descend from a few hundred meters deep in Düsseldorf to over 4,000 meters deep below Duisburg. The IEG is also examining the use of warm mine water in disused mines. The entire range of technical applications for municipal and industrial heat supply could therefore be possible in the project and it would thus have a pilot character for the entire Rhine-Ruhr metropolis.

The horticultural industry in the city of Straelen on the Lower Rhine is changing. The increased demand for regionally produced products is offset by increasing cost pressure for the heat supply of greenhouses. Successful geothermal energy examples in the neighboring Netherlands show that sustainable and affordable heat supply solutions can secure the location. Favorable layers of rock for supplying heat to agriculture in Straelen lie at a depth of 500 or 1500 meters, depending on the local geological structure you are aiming for.

The city of Düren and the municipality of Kreuzau want to examine how a “geothermal heat pipeline” can connect industries with high heat requirements at 120 degrees Celsius, i.e. the many regional paper mills and metal processing companies. The return heat would be used to supply district heating customers with temperatures of 80 or 40 degrees Celsius. Industries that previously used lignite from the nearby open-cast mine could in future be supplied with thermal water at over 150 degrees from geological structures at a depth of 4,000 meters below Düren. If necessary, promising geological layers in the area of ??the planned Fraunhofer research power plant in the neighboring village of Weisweiler could also be used.

From a competition to the roundtable

The use of deep geothermal energy has great potential in North Rhine-Westphalia. Climate protection and the energy transition make it necessary to look at all forms of renewable energies. Currently, the local and district heating networks in North Rhine-Westphalia are almost exclusively supplied from fossil energy sources. The Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy IEG uses its expertise to advance research in connection with geothermal energy and heating networks and provides impetus for the application of the technology.

The three projects that have now been selected pave the way for other municipalities that want to develop deep geothermal energy for a sustainable heat supply. Fraunhofer IEG also wants to pass on the impetus of the competition in cooperation with the municipalities that did not get a chance in the state competition. “I saw a lot of excellent ideas,” said Bracke happily about the quality of the competition. “It pays to continue discussions with local authorities and industry.” Cities such as Aachen, Mönchengladbach, Kempen, Bochum, Münster or Siegen have similarly favorable geological or energy-related framework conditions as the competition winners. Bracke would therefore like to set up a “Tiefengeothermie.NRW round table” so that municipalities, municipal utilities and heat-intensive companies can develop a common learning curve, exchange their experiences and quickly find imitation of successful ideas. “In addition to strategies for geological subsurface exploration, there are questions of network integration, communication and mediation of acceptance, funding opportunities and project management for municipal deep geothermal projects.”

With the competition “Heat from deep geothermal energy for North Rhine-Westphalia”, the state government is supporting the development of deep geothermal potential in North Rhine-Westphalia in three projects with up to 500,000 euros each. The address was municipalities or associations of municipalities who, in a consortium with local energy providers, industrial companies and North Rhine-Westphalian research institutions, would like to examine the integration of deep geothermal energy into the municipal energy supply as part of a feasibility study. All applications received were evaluated by an independent expert jury consisting of external experts and representatives of the Ministry of Economics, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIDE).

Source: Press release Fraunhofer IEG

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