This morning, a class of 21 students from the 2nd year ASO – Modern Science STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) of Heilig Graf Turnhout paid a visit to the Balmatt site in Mol. One of these students was the 1 000th student who was given a tour at the exploratory drilling site Deep Geothermal Energy. “It is very important that young people become familiar with this technology,” says Guido Evens, counsellor education and entrepreneurship at Voka – KvK Kempen. “At the end of November we launched the experience moments. One thousand visitors in just over three months is an unexpected result.”

At the Balmatt site in Mol, the second drilling performed by VITO has just started. This decision came after the positive outcome of the first drilling. “These results indicate that the Flemish energy landscape is on the verge of a major breakthrough and that the Kempen will play a pioneering role in this”, says Evens. “VITO assumes that when both wells are in operation, more than 20 000 families and a number of companies can be provided with heat and electricity. A complete geothermal energy station at the Balmatt site (based on 6 wells) would make it the fourth largest geothermal energy station in Europe. Making young people aware of the potential of this form of energy is therefore very important. At the moment, more than 50 classes have visited the site. Schools wishing to visit the exploratory drilling site, can do so until the end of this school year.”

Unique acquaintance

By familiarising students with the energy production of the future, VITO, GoodPlanet, Voka – KvK Kempen and the Province of Antwerp are making young people enthusiastic about technique. At the Balmatt site, students of all ages are introduced to the strength of deep geothermal energy via a unique exhibition and attractive demonstrations. “We are very pleased with this initiative,” says Hilde Robrechts, Managing Director of Heilig Graf Turnhout. “The STEM education students are introduced to the techniques of the future in a unique way.” The students themselves are also enthusiastic. “If they would find this in America, okay, but here in Belgium, so close to us?”, say Anne Proost and Xander Smets. “We never imagined that and that is truly special. And the fact that they are going to make electricity out of hot water, makes it very exciting.”

Great story

Deputy of economics Ludwig Caluwé – who was also present to congratulate the class with the 1000th student -  is very pleased with the interest of young people. “Deep geothermal energy will play an important role in the economic development of our province”, says Caluwé. “The exploratory drillings are the start of a great story. A story that will be largely written by the young people who are visiting the site today.”

Schools that are interested in discovering this amazing form of energy, can register for a visit at: www.goodplanet.be/geothermie-voor-stem


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