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TWI Leads Geothermal Projects Worth €40 Million

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Wed, 02 October, 2019

TWI is pioneering geothermal energy research by providing solutions to help improve the flexibility and efficiency of geothermal systems, while reducing plant operational costs, including provision of holistic approaches for cheap and efficient drilling solutions.

Amidst growing concerns on global warming, the EU’s Energy Union has set targets to achieve global leadership in renewable energies. The H2020 program, in particular has been supporting activities aimed at identifying renewable energy breakthroughs that will become the basis of the next generation of technologies.

Geothermal Energy – The Next Generation In Renewables

Geothermal energy - energy stored in the form of heat beneath the earth's surface - is a rapidly evolving sustainable resource with an enormous potential and a proven reliability to meet heating, cooling and flexible electricity generation demands. With a low carbon footprint, this largely untapped natural and renewable energy resource has the capacity for a sustainable and clean energy future.

Technological challenges in geothermal energy exploration

Despite the opportunities offered, exploitation of geothermal resources poses several challenges including:

  • Aggressive nature of geothermal fluids affecting the efficiency and longevity of the plant components;
  • High costs associated with geothermal drilling of the wells;
  • Limited flexibility of geothermal plants as opposed to the conventional fossil fuel;
  • Need for innovative materials for geothermal heat exchangers to maximise energy transfer and improve the overall conversion efficiency of a geothermal system;
  • Optimisation of geothermal plants site development and operation with respect to the local conditions.

Pioneering Geothermal Innovations

“Building on our core expertise in materials testing and surface engineering, we are now coordinating geothermal projects worth over €40 million of EU funding”, says Damien Kirkpatrick, Collaborative Programme Manager, Materials group. “These projects are aimed to optimise and demonstrate innovations to improve the flexibility and efficiency of geothermal heat and power systems”.

Following the success of project Geo-Coat in 2017, TWI continues to push boundaries of technological innovations tapping into geothermal resources by:

  • Helping to protect plant infrastructure from the detrimental effects of the geothermal fluids
  • Improving the longevity, performance and cost effectiveness of the well drilling process
  • Developing energy storage and power management innovations to provide daily flexibility
  • Produce innovative materials for heat exchangers to maximise and improve the overall efficiency of the system
  • Gain understanding of the chemical and physical properties of geothermal fluids as heat transport media.

For detailed information on the geothermal projects, visit our Geothermal webpage.

Our Geothermal events:

  • “Geothermal Energy: Opportunities and Challenges” – a 1-day stakeholder event at TWI focussing on to identification of challenges with geothermal exploitation and demonstration of the techno-economic solutions through contributions of H2020 projects S4CE and Geo-Coat. This workshop is supported from the collaborative projects S4CE and Geo-Coat under grant agreement numbers 764810 and 764086 respectively.