Wed, 22 April, 2020
22 April 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, as well as the anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2016.
Amidst the new norms of remote working and social distancing as we battle against the ongoing pandemic, the challenge of climate change remains unforgotten. In fact, the macabre dance of Covid-19 is a reflection of human frailties against forces of nature and questions if we can survive a parallel global catastrophe arising from global warming.
The theme of Earth Day 2020 is climate action. Immediate concerns for carbon neutrality and dwindling natural resources, has caused a regime shift, calling world economies to take measures to reduce/end their contribution to global warming by 2050. Shifting to renewable resources in the energy mix offers the prosperity of a green economy - accelerating progress to mitigate an irreversible state of global warming.
A Geothermal Journey
The use of geothermal resources aligns with global goals for sustainable development by helping to provide affordable and clean energy with responsible consumption and production for sustainable cities and communities around the globe.
Building on its core expertise in materials testing and surface engineering, TWI is pioneering research in geothermal, coordinating geothermal projects worth over €40 million of EU funding. These projects aim to optimise and demonstrate innovations to improve the flexibility and efficiency of geothermal heat and power systems.
TWI’s journey into the geothermal realm began in 2017, with the success of project Geo-Coat – Helping to protect plant infrastructure from the detrimental effects of the aggressive geothermal environments. Since then, experts at TWI, in collaboration with the members of international consortia have been working to foster technological innovations to make geothermal energy generation more accessible and affordable.
Understanding Fluid Chemistry
GEOPRO aims to generate advances in the understanding and modelling of geofluid properties. This work has a wide applicability across a majority of geothermal installations to ensure consistent behaviour across significantly different applications.
Holistic Drilling Technology
High costs associated with drilling can be reduced by the provision of technology that can increase drill rate and reduce the tripping time along with an improved lifetime for drill components. Project Geo-Drill aims to reduce drilling costs through down-the-hole (DTH) hammer, advanced drill monitoring through low-cost and robust 3D printed sensors and improved component life through advanced materials and coatings.
Cost-Efficient Materials for Increased Efficiency and Longevity of the Installations
Project Geo-Coat and GeoHex are developing new materials and coatings to reduce operational and maintenance costs of geothermal plants. The new high performance coatings are aimed to address material challenges as well as improve the efficiency of critical components for competent and economical geothermal systems.
Increased Flexibility for Power Demand
Project GeoSmart aims to address the strategic flexibility required from European geothermal installations, as they become significant energy sources over the next 20-30 years, replacing decommissioned fossil fuel plants. GeoSmart will allow the geothermal plant to respond quickly to heat and power demands and stabilise energy grid reliability against any fluctuation caused by progressive integration of variable renewable energy resources. The project’s main objective is the demonstration, in working geothermal plants, of two variants of GeoSmart technology, meeting the different flexibility needs of low-enthalpy and high enthalpy combined heat and power (CHP) provision.
These projects have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement numbers 764086 (Geo-Coat), 815319 (Geo-Drill), 818576 (GeoSmart),851816 (GEOPRO) and 851917 (GeoHex).