Monday, January 30, 2017

Belgium: Balmatt Geothermal Energy Plant to be Built By End of Year

Vito gets closer to harnessing geothermal energy (Flanders Today)

The middle phase of a local project exploring the extraction of geothermal heat from the earth is complete, and forecasts suggest the process could eventually provide enough energy to heat 800,000 homes

The Flemish institute for technological research (Vito) has completed the first two phases of a local project aimed at extracting geothermal heat from the earth. The third phase consists of installing a power station at the Balmatt site.

At the Vito site in Mol, Antwerp province, drilling went down to 3,610 metres, to the 350-million-year-old limestone layer under the ground, where the temperature reaches 138 degrees Celsius. When pumped to the surface, the water from that layer retains a temperature of 126-128 degrees, which allows it to be used for heating.

In the second phase of testing, it was found that water could also be returned to the limestone layer, in order to be reheated and pumped back out, creating a closed water loop. A second drilling to re-introduce cold water reached a depth of 3,830m, with the tests on the reintroduced water being completed in September last year.

The site is now ready to install a power station on the surface where water will be pumped up from the depths, used as a source of energy and then re-injected into the limestone layer to be reheated naturally, for the cycle to be repeated. Works on the third phase are expected to be completed by the end of the year.