Europe aims to increase the share of renewable energy for direct heating and cooling, industrial processes, power generation and energy storage. Geothermal energy today is only utilised in a few niche market sectors and a few regions but has the potential to be much more widely utilised. The EU-funded GEOTHERMICA project promises to play a big role in making this a reality.
GEOTHERMICA’s ambitious objective is to combine the financial resources and know-how of 16 geothermal energy research and innovation programme owners and managers from 13 countries and to launch joint actions that demonstrate and validate novel concepts of geothermal energy utilisation within the energy system that can be further developed with a view to full-scale commercialisation in mind.
In particular, the initiative aims at the direct use and power generation from geothermal resources in an optimised way, which includes integrated and combined systems (e.g. heat pumps and using the underground as a heating and cooling energy storage site).
Now GEOTHERMICA has moved to embark on the next step: to combine forces at the European level and realise significant developments on a big scale through a platform of jointly funded European research and development (R&D) projects. For a first call through the project, EUR 30 million was made available for a small number of major demonstration projects, with strong industry participation. Overall, the European approach gathers together national funding efforts and provides the opportunity to unite the geothermal knowledge of all participating countries.
GEOTHERMICA’s second call was launched at the end of 2019 with an indicative budget of around EUR 20 million.
The Horizon 2020 programme contributes directly to GEOTHERMICA with nearly EUR 8 million, with the rest of its budget coming from the EU Member States. The project is due to end in December 2021. For more information, visit the dedicated GEOTHERMICA website.