VITO spin-off Hita has mapped out three aquifers in the Lommel deep subsurface, that could be considered for geothermal heat production. Geothermal heat as a source to feed heat networks.

Three aquifers under Lommel

The first results of last summer's 3D seismic campaign seem promising for a geothermal heat project in Lommel.

The deepest reservoir is located at a depth of 4 km, in the same coal limestone layer as the one under the Balmatt site. The temperature of the water will be around 150 °C, which makes it suitable for supplying heat to businesses as well. If drilling reveals that there is insufficient water, the higher layers can still be tapped. Between a depth of 1.1 and 1.6 km, there is a sandstone layer 500 metres thick that contains two reservoirs. The water here is 'only' 50 to 65 °C, which is still enough to heat homes.

In the next phase of the project, the geothermal model will be completed and a possible location for a geothermal power station will already be looked at, taking into account possible heat demands in Lommel. Next year, the necessary permits will be requested and by the end of 2023 drilling might be possible.

Scientific research by VITO at the heart

At the heart of this project are the results of a VITO study, as part of the European Interreg NWE project DGE ROLLOUT. One of the goals of the European project is to map the geothermal potential of the coal limestone layer in order to make the energy supply in North-West Europe more sustainable. This all starts with detailed knowledge of the deep subsurface, where the potential geothermal reservoirs are located, and what the possible risks of geothermal heat production in that location are. Above ground, there must be sufficient consumers of (geothermal) heat in the vicinity.

A seismic campaign in North Limburg at the end of 2020 explored the region around Lommel on a regional scale. Based on existing knowledge of the deep subsurface, Bree and Lommel in particular seemed interesting for geothermal heat. The presence of energy-intensive companies, the many public buildings and the De Vossemeren holiday park as potential heat consumers was an additional advantage.

VITO also receives financial support for its activities within DGE-ROLLOUT from Nuhma and the Province of Limburg.

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