Deep geothermal vitality, a brand new vitality Eldorado for Wallonia?

Deep geothermal vitality, a brand new vitality Eldorado for Wallonia?

Whereas the surge in gasoline and electrical energy costs demonstrates the urgency of constructing European vitality sovereignty and the necessity to diversify sources of provide, another may benefit from the present context and develop in Wallonia: deep geothermal vitality, in different phrases the exploitation of underground water heated naturally by the Earth. A supply of vitality that appears promising as a result of it pollutes lower than fossil fuels and isn’t intermittent like photo voltaic and wind vitality. Though barely three websites are at the moment operated within the Province of Hainaut, the Walloon Area would however have immense improvement potential, notably within the Province of Namur the place an enormous prospecting marketing campaign carried out in the course of the month of December 2022 (named GEOCOND22) ought to make it attainable to objectify this speculation. Interview with Estelle Petitclerc, geologist on the Belgian Geological Survey and DGE-ROLLOUT mission supervisor (European cross-border cooperation mission largely funded by Wallonia).

What’s so-called “deep” geothermal vitality?

Geothermal vitality designates each the exploitation of warmth from the subsoil but in addition an entire collection of makes use of and kinds of exploitation which may vary from shallow geothermal vitality to deep geothermal vitality, each floor makes use of and others a lot deeper. It’s on this context that we have an interest right here in geothermal vitality at larger depths of the order of two to 5 kilometres. The deeper we undergo the earth’s crust, the extra the warmth will enhance by round 25°C to 30°C per kilometer, so we will hope to have 100 levels at three or 4 kilometers deep. The large benefit of geothermal vitality is that it’s out there 24 hours a day.

This marketing campaign goals to detect the presence of a “geothermal reservoir”, what does this imply?

After we discuss “reservoir”, it’s fairly merely rocks saturated with water, so it’s not an underground lake, it’s certainly layers of rock which permit the extraction of this water on the floor the place we’ll get well the energy, then we’ll reinject this water into this similar “reservoir”, which can also be the rationale why geothermal vitality is sustainable since we come to pump the water, we trade the warmth on the floor and we reinject it .

Two strains shall be adopted (from Gembloux to Onhaye and one other from Fernelmont to Marche-en-Famenne within the Province of Luxembourg), why are you focusing on the Province of Namur particularly?

We’re already fortunate sufficient to have three geothermal wells in Hainaut, so we’ve got affirmation that the reservoir that enables the exploitation of this warmth exists in Mons, however we want to know its extension additional east. So that is what this geophysical marketing campaign goes for use for, is to know the place this reservoir is situated, at what depth and what’s its thickness additional east of Mons. We’ve good hopes of discovering the identical Dinantian limestones, that’s to say this very specific reservoir, however alternatively we’re not sure in regards to the depth at which we’ll discover it and about its thickness, which might additionally enable intensive use of geothermal vitality sooner or later.

So there may be untapped potential in Wallonia? What are the event prospects?

Sure, utterly! We really imagine that geothermal vitality may have a way more vital position to play in Wallonia, particularly deep geothermal vitality, it’s estimated that there are vital sources. However right here, we’re actually working upstream, so we’re there to find out the presence of this reservoir on a regional scale, we’re not but on the geothermal mission stage. These are actually the preliminary steps to presumably take into account the event of deep geothermal vitality sooner or later. In any case, it is likely one of the 28 measures which were recognized by the federal government to fulfill the vitality wants of the area, particularly with the concept of ​​favoring carbon-neutral energies.

Are we already capable of quantify this potential?

There’s a preliminary research that was carried out earlier than the launch of this marketing campaign, it’s estimated that these Dinant limestones may have a technical potential of round 1500 GW-h, which may characterize 128 deep geothermal tasks on the horizon. 2050. So sure, there may be potential, completely, however these figures have to be confirmed and that’s what this research is for, it’s to substantiate this potential.

How does such a prospection happen within the area? How do you detect a “reservoir” a number of kilometers deep?

We work with a geophysical prospecting technique similar to the precept of ultrasound. We are going to the truth is have vibrator vans which can generate waves which can propagate within the subsoil and be mirrored on the completely different geological layers to then be captured on the floor. We are going to measure the wave propagation velocity and in accordance with the completely different propagation speeds we’re capable of reconstruct a picture and the construction of the subsoil. We’re actually attempting to know the deep construction of the subsoil, how the completely different layers are organized.

Would not that trigger hurt?

No, the nuisances are virtually nil. In any case, we’ve got deliberate to regulate and anticipate all the degrees of vibration that we are going to produce. It’s a expertise that has been extensively used because the Nineteen Fifties by oil corporations but in addition rather more not too long ago for the seek for geothermal reservoirs, this had furthermore been carried out close to Mons in 2019 in addition to in Campine for the previous ten years. , so we’re used to managing this sort of marketing campaign.

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