New geothermal heating project starts operation in Mons, Belgium

Innauguration of Ghlin geothermal heating plant, Belgium (source: RTBF, screenshot)
Alexander Richter 12 Feb 2018

A local development group has innaugurated its second geothermal heating plant in Mons in Belgium, which will be supplying heat to local companies.

Last Friday, intercommunal economic development group IDEA in Belgium inaugurated its second geothermal heating station in Ghlin, near Mons. The plant is now supplying geothermal heating to companies in the area. It is the first area of economic activity (40ha) Walloon and even Belgian to be powered by geothermal energy.

The Ghlin well derives water at a temperature of 65 degrees Celsius, at a depth of 1,500 meters. “This allows us not to use fossil fuels and to offer 100% renewable energy with no CO2 emissions.” explains Caroline Decamps, IDEA’s Managing Director.

And if the price of a barrel of oil or gas fluctuates, this is not necessarily the case of the water recovered in the ground below Mons. “The price of fossil fuels is relatively low at the moment, we are offering similar prices, but we can guarantee price control, which is not the case with fossil fuels,” says David Charlet, engineer mines at IDEA.

The Walloon Minister for Ecological Transition, Carlo Di Antonio (CDH), applauds the project in Mons. “Zoning with renewable energy production is the future, they will have a lesser impact on their environment and they will allow companies to control the cost of energy.” The price of fossil fuels, as we know, will go up again, because we end up with a period of time, we will end up with less oil or gas available, and that will increase the price of energy, but when we are in a situation where we produce its renewable energy, we are sheltered from this kind of thing, and it can be an argument to attract businesses. ”

It is expected that the area will eventually host some thirty companies. One company has already settled there.

The groundwater hot water was discovered by chance, at the beginning of the twentieth century, when digging galleries to extract coal. Then, in the 1970s, the Geological Survey of Belgium began research and the intercommunal IDEA then invested in geothermal energy.
IDEA has a long experience in this field. For three decades, it has been promoting the geothermal water resources of the Mons basin. Its geothermal network supplies hot water, for heating and hot water production needs, two hospitals, three schools, a swimming pool and 355 public housing, Saint-Ghislain station as well as private companies like AW Europe, located in the zoning of Ghlin-Baudour.

The intercommunal IDEA develops another project. Through European and Walloon co-financing, it received funding of EUR14 million to drill two other wells to a depth of 2,500 meters in order to set up an urban heat network feeding the hospital Ambroise Paré. Drilling is expected to begin in 2020.

Source: RTBF