Promising geothermal energy source in Belgium

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“Deep geothermal energy can help Belgium to achieve the climate goals without significant additional costs,” reports VITO. The drill test for ‘deep geothermal energy’ in the Dessel region exceeds expectations.

In recent months, a hole of 3,610 meters deep was drilled in Mol to a layer containing hot water. On January 20, steam came out of the wellbore, after which tests were carried out to measure the temperature, the stability and the flow rate.

“All expectations have been exceeded,” says VITO director Dirk Fransaer. “The temperatures were nearly out of range, up to 138 degrees and the start flow is huge. These are two crucial factors to obtain geothermal energy.”

Based on the results, VITO also approved a second drill, to test a closed warm water circuit. The constructions start this week and are estimated to be co mpleted by the end of June 2016. Next year, VITO wants to be able to provide warmth and electricity with the new system.  In total, the energy will be distributed as heat (85%) and as electricity (15%).

The complete plan consists of eighty stations in the Kempen (Limburg and Antwerp). The geological energy would cost about 50 euros per megawatt hour, which results in a cost of about 55 euros per month for a normal household. The system would be able to generate heat for the companies and the 900,000 residents of the Antwerp and Limburg municipalities.

Furthermore, based on special installations using very hot water, 800 megawatts of electricity could be generated. This equals the production of a medium sized nuclear power plant and would reduce CO2 emissions with nearly 3 percent.