Mol, 4 April 2015: Earlier this week, VITO launched an international call for tender for the soil borings up to 4 km deep, searching for hot water on the Balmatt site. The first drilling will be realised before the end of this year. This will be the so-called exploratory drilling of the research project “deep geothermal energy” on the Balmatt site.
Drilling for hot water
VITO has mapped the deep subsurface of Mol area to a depth of more than 4 km. According to the results of the measurements, researchers expect to find hot water at a depth of approximately 3,5 km, possibly even 124 °C hot. Via two drilling wells, they want to pump up this hot water and pump back the cooled water. The extracted heat will be used for eg heating the VITO buildings. In case the water is hot enough, there will be tried to produce electricity in a second phase.
A couple of weeks ago, the Board of Directors of VITO gave permission to carry out the first drilling in the context of a research project. For the second drilling, there will be looked for an appropriate external (bank) funding. In order to be able to generate electricity, further additional resources are required, which will be sought from parties who are willing to invest in risk capital. Therefore, the research project is set up as a SPV – Special Project Vehicle – allowing external investors to join. With a number of potential interested parties, exploratory interviews have already taken place and also other potential interested parties can still join for the closing of the SPV which will take place on 1st September 2015.
VITO expects to find sufficient temperature and output to supply, in any case, her own heating network with hot water of about 90 °C. The hot water pipe from the Balmatt site to the VITO site is about 2 km long. For this, discussions with Eandis have started. In case the condition of the subsurface is very favorable, 2 to 3 additional drillings can be performed at the same location. Therefore, Mol-Donk and other large parts of Dessel can be supplied with hot water.
The advantages of this green heat are its 100 % sustainable nature and its independence from price fluctuations of oil and gas. The electricity that would be generated is also 100 % green energy. In an optimistic scenario, the electricity production could rise up to 9 MW. Moreover, the power production is independent of weather conditions (wind, sun,…) and almost continuously (24 h/day, 7 days/week) available.
The tenders are expected by 19th May. It is expected that the drillings will start early September.
More info on deep geothermal energy: