Switching to sustainable energy sources is necessary to reach climate neutrality and to become less dependent on energy imports. Because wind and solar energy depend on the weather there is a need for energy sources that are available 24/7. That’s where deep geothermal energy comes in. It is a continuous, sustainable energy source that supplies heat and electricity at the same time.  

There are still questions about the viability and feasibility of a large-scale roll out of deep geothermal plants, more specifically in Belgium.

VITO has built a full-scale deep geothermal energy plant in Mol to investigate these questions. With its three wells, the plant plays an integral part in a test programme to investigate induced seismicity, with safe geothermal heat extraction as our future goal.

VITO has gained in-depth knowledge of geothermal energy during the development and construction of the plant in Mol.  We are sharing this knowledge with companies that are interested in using geothermal energy. VITO maps out the technical and economic feasibility of new geothermal energy projects.


The switch to geothermal energy can be a major step for companies. Interest has grown over the last few years, particularly in the agriculture and horticulture sector. Geothermal energy may offer a solution to the high demand for heat in that sector.

  • Feasibility studies: review of existing data and test results to determine whether a site is suitable for geothermal energy development
  • Exploration: planning and follow-up of seismic campaign, structural model, reservoir modelling and simulations
  • Development: permitting and insurance schemes, drilling program, communication
  • Realisation: follow-up of drilling activities, design, planning and evalua-tion of well tests, support in measuring seismicity during operation
  • Production: incorporating reservoir data in models, mitigation measures related to NORM. Minewater: in addition to the deep geothermal energy plants, VITO is also focusing on heat from abandoned mines
  • Geological 3D mapping: VITO is the geological centre of expertise for the Flemish government

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At the same time, the plant is available for companies to test their products and services at the facility. 

Deep geothermal energy plant testing infrastructure

The pilot installation allows VITO to investigate various topics related to the use of geothermal energy. This includes items such as corrosion and scaling, microseismicity and Nat-ural Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM), next to the geological expertise and energy production.

Corrosion and scaling: the high salinity of the geothermal water in combination with high temperature and high pressure results in an aggressive fluid. It causes both dissolution of metals and precipitation of minerals in the casing of the well and in the surface installation. VITO tests the use of different materials for these purposes.

Microseismicity: it is well known that deep geothermal energy systems can cause mild earthquakes, vibrations. VITO has developed a dense local seismometer network of 11 seismometers, positioned at different locations and depths, ranging from 30 m to 2 km deep. This monitoring network provides insights into where the vibrations are originating and will also allow the risks of vibrations (frequency and force) to be extrapolated more reliably. This result will determine the operational margins within which the geothermal energy production at this plant is safe.

NORM (Natural Occurring Radioactive Materials): as a result of the decay of natural uranium and thorium in the Earth’s crust, the geothermal water contains radioactive elements. Most of these elements are reinjected back into the deep reservoir. VITO has developed sampling protocols for filter elements, scalings and the geothermal water in order to determine the activity level.