Because of the increasing scarcity of raw materials and fluctuating energy prices, investments in sustainable energy from our own country are becoming a priority. In order to meet the energy requirement, sources that are able to constantly generate electricity or heat are also required in addition to solar and wind energy. Deep geothermal energy supplies renewable power and heat that is available 24/7.

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Energy mix of the future

Making the switch to renewable energy sources from our own country is necessary in order to save the climate and to be less dependent on energy imports. The production of wind and solar energy is dependent on the weather. There is therefore a need for energy sources that are available day and night. In addition to electricity, heat accounts for half of our energy demand. Deep geothermal energy is a continuous, sustainable energy source that supplies electricity and heat at the same time. VITO is convinced that deep geothermal energy forms a vital link in the energy mix of the future.

Jobs for the region

Deep geothermal energy offers many benefits for society. Pumping up geothermal energy requires significant investment, but this is a one-off. A large group of individuals and companies have been benefiting from this for years. They are supplied with deep geothermal energy via a heating network. The heat is constant and therefore the price is much less susceptible to fluctuations.

Deep geothermal energy gives impetus to the region. A geothermal energy plant with a heat production of 20 megawatts guarantees the full-time employment of 20 people for a period of 30 years. If this plant also produces electricity, that figure is doubled. What is more, local companies benefit indirectly from the industrial activities underway around a deep geothermal energy plant.

Energy for 5000 families

Deep geothermal energy exploitation is no easy task; it requires specific expertise. The construction of the first deep geothermal energy plant in Flanders, on the Balmatt site in Mol, is a technological masterpiece. In addition to heat, VITO is also hoping to generate green power. Once the installation is complete, it will supply heat and power to 5000 families in the region. As a result, VITO will create the fourth largest deep geothermal energy plant in Europe.

Risk-free investment

VITO is hoping to create a large amount of support for the deep geothermal energy plant in the Campine. The knowledge institute invested in an impressive drilling operation together with the Flemish government, which attracted attention both within Flanders and on an international level. The project is taking shape in collaboration with network managers, government agencies, consultancy agencies and cleantech companies. Local residents will be informed and will be closely involved in the project.

“VITO is hoping to use the experience it acquires from the project to give impetus to rolling out deep geothermal energy plants and heating networks in the rest of Flanders as well. With our deep geothermal energy plant in Mol, we remove obstacles for companies that believe in the economic potential of deep geothermal energy but do not have the means to take major risks.”

Dirk Fransaer
Managing Director VITO