A "discussion diagram" used for planning eco-neighbourhoods and showing potential  points of entry for  geothermal heat (2011). © BRGM

DGE-Rollout: Supporting increased use of deep geothermal energy in Europe

10.28.2019
The European DGE-Rollout project aims to support the expansion of deep geothermal energy in North-West Europe for the supply of high temperature heat in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is intended for use by industrial and agricultural companies and also thermal power plants for district heating networks.

Issues and needs

North-West Europe must reduce its CO2 emissions, a major source of which is the production of electricity and heat by means of fossil fuels. These could mostly be replaced by using deep geothermal energy (DGE) instead. However, exploration of DGE in most parts of North-West Europe requires specific expertise and technologies due to the complex geological conditions encountered in the trans-border areas between Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium

The objective of DGE-ROLLOUT is to produce energy and reduce CO2 emissions by replacing fossil fuels with DGE in North-West Europe for high temperature supply. This will be achieved through mapping and networking, the implementation of innovative strategies to support decision-making and exploration, and by optimising production.

Expected results

Site of future Deep Geothermal drilling to supplement lignite electricity production at the Weisweiler power plant, Germany (Weisweiler, 2019). © BRGM - C. Dezayes

This optimisation will be tested for two pilot sites (Balmatt, Belgium and Bochum, Germany), using high temperature heat pumps, thermal storage and new cascade heat production schemes. This should reduce CO2 by 25,000 t/year. By building other sites in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, a level of 160,000 t/year could be reached by 2022. Ten years after the end of the project, 1,600,000 t/year should be achieved, with the possibility of reaching 7,000,000 t/year in the long term.

Other activities will aim to develop innovative, reliable, less expensive, and risk-minimising support for decision-making and exploration strategies, as well as a 3D atlas representing the geological complexity, all of which will lay foundations for using DGE. The implementation of DGE tools and the extent to which they increase social acceptance will be assessed and the legal conditions and business models for companies will be analysed. An "NWE-DGE" network (deep geothermal energy in North-West Europe) will be established to consolidate results and investments after the end of the project.

BRGM's role

BRGM's contribution will mainly focus on studying the potential for deep geothermal energy in the Carboniferous limestone of the Hauts de France region.

Partners

  • Geologischer Dienst NRW
  • DMT GmbH & Co. KGt
  • EBN B.V.
  • Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique
  • International Geothermal Centre, Hochschule Bochum
  • RWE Power AG
  • TNO
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • VITO
  • BRGM
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