German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and state premier of Bavaria, Markus Söder, visited a geothermal plant this week and together pledged extra support and funding for the renewable energy alternative. They attended the Eavor Loop geothermal plant near Munich, a pioneering site which accesses geothermal energy through ‘closed loop’ technology.
The plant is still under construction, however once completed will generate 64MW of thermal power and 8.2MW of electrical power. This will result in up to 44,000 metric tonnes of CO2 saved each year. Currently, the nation generates 417MW of heat and 46MW of electricity from deep geothermal plants.
Eavor technology, the closed loop, functions by pushing cold liquids down a 3.5KM pipe. This travels horizontally underground, heating the liquid via the hot rocks below the earth’s crust. The liquid is then pushed back up to the surface, producing heat energy that can be used for heating and power generation.
Borehole drilling at the same site 10 years ago had produced no hot water, meaning the site was unsuitable for geothermal technologies of the time. Eavor says that no thermal water is required for it’s technology, which gives it an advantage over the hydrothermal geothermal energy that has been widely used to date.
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A Canadian renewable energy company, Eavor has also secured backing from many big names within the industry such as BP, Chevron, and Chubu Electric for it’s new closed loop system.
Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor, commented on the development, “to use this heat also above ground is so obvious as this heat is always there, independent of wind and weather, independent of the seasons.”
Bavaria is the current hotspot for German geothermal energy production. The majority of Germany’s 42 geothermal sites are located here, with another 12 under construction and 82 further sites planned for the future. Scholz adds, “our goal is to tap as much geothermal energy as possible by 2030 and to feed ten times as much geothermal energy into the heating network as today.”
He also states, “this is ambitious, but a secure and, above all, affordable supply of renewable energy is an advantage that is crucial not only for our citizens but also for our economy. For location decisions and for investments.”
The EU are in support of this development, committing support from the European Innovation Fund (EIF). The Bavarian developments will benefit from a grant of 91.6M Euros, roughly one third of the expected full cost of the plant.