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New project to utilise geothermal for greenhouse operations in Southern Spain

Parque Natural Cabo de Gata - Níjar, Spain (source: flickr/ paguru, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 19 Feb 2020

A planned project to utilise geothermal for heating greenhouses in the South of Spain has received a 30-year concession for geothermal energy utilisation.

Local news report that Cardial, a company owned by the public works group Cyopsa of Camilo Alcalá, plans to exploit a hot water reservoir in Níjar in Southern Spain and use it to heat greenhouses. This is a project that added several years of work and already has a green light after receiving the thirty-year concession of this geothermal natural resource from the hands of the Minister of Finance, Juan Bravo.

According to the manager of the company , Carlos Díaz, this water that emerges from 1,200 meters deep with an average temperature of 100 degrees Celsius, will allow to meet an initial demand of 14 hectares of crops under plastic and in a second survey foresees to double that capacity .

The concession for exploitation of geothermal resources is established on an area of ??15 mining grids – equivalent to 457.29 hectares in the municipality of Níjar and that will be used to heat greenhouses with this type of energy that does not generate emissions, or waste, or Other environmental damages.

This is a project to which the company will allocate more than 4 million euros of investment and that, in addition to the employment generated by the engineering, as well as the construction, management and maintenance of the plant, will also have other improvements. , since it will provide the crops with clean energy, without emissions of any kind and that will allow extending the productive period or the agricultural campaign. The company’s initial plan includes the construction of three plants in just two years.

The resource was surfaced by Cardial in 2017, in collaboration with the University of Almería. Water, which is not conventionally used by the mineral salt composition of the subsoil, is naturally heated. Resource management consists of a closed cycle that, as it draws water, returns it to the reservoir once its heat energy is used, thus restarting the natural process.

However, the use of thermal energy through heat exchanger plants will also allow cold in the months of higher outside temperature, so the effect of air conditioning under plastic does not stick to the winter months.

A decade has passed since Cardial began to manage the feasibility of using geothermal energy in the Los Tristanes area of ??the Níjar countryside. Initially, it was even thought about the possibility of producing electricity through this source of clean energy with a use station.

On the volcanic zone of the region there were numerous studies and research surveys confirming the existence of a geothermal site. Most of the countries that have geothermal catalogs have been launched in recent years to take advantage of this clean, low-cost and sustainable energy, such as the United States, the Philippines, Kenya, Iceland or New Zealand.

Cardial from the beginning has probed the viability of the project based on the potential demand of farmers and can make Níjar the greatest showcase for the use of geothermal energy in the agricultural sector in Spain.

One of the main reasons for using this unconventional energy is the energy savings that can also mean for farmers.

Source: La Vox de Almería