|Francesco Venturini, Chief Executive |
Officer, Enel Green Power
Geothermal is not among the most widespread and well-known of renewables. Although it is one of those with the greatest potential in terms of increased performance over the coming years.
The direction in which we need to work now has been recognized even by EU research programs. Main innovations go in three directions:
Firstly, new generation of plants exploiting deep geothermal high-temperature and high-pressure fluids, namely supercritical fluids with a temperature higher than 400°C and pressure higher than 200 bar. The challenges here is in the research for breakthrough materials and technological solutions to convey and exploit such aggressive geothermal fluids at challenging conditions of temperature, pressure and chemistry.
Another way to spread this energy source will be through the hybridization of geothermal technology with other renewables. As Enel Green Power we have already created two proof-of-concepts. The first is Stillwater, in Nevada, which combines solar and geothermal. The second is Cornia, in Italy (Larderello) which combines geothermal with biomass.
And finally, increasing the performance of plants in low temperatures (120 - 150°C) where classic thermodynamic improvement could result in a very important boost for the diffusion of geothermal electricity generation throughout Europe.