An ambitious research project funded by the European Union to develop a novel technology combining geothermal energy production with metals extraction from the geothermal fluid in a single interlinked process is entering its final stages.
The Combined Heat Power and Metals (CHPM2030) technology project is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme for Research and Innovation, a platform set up to lower the costs and environmental impact of energy production, while decreasing the dependence on imported strategic raw materials.
The project co-ordinators said: “In order to improve the economics of deep geothermal energy development, the project investigates possible technologies for manipulating metal-bearing geological formations with geothermal potential at a depth of 3-4 km, and potentially even deeper.
“The project’s aim is that the co-production of energy and metals will become possible and may be optimised according to market demands in the future. The project will also provide a proof of the technological concept on a laboratory scale.”
Experts from all over Europe are joining efforts to make this novel technology become a reality, with work divided into eight interlinked parts, known as Work Packages. The 42-month project is now entering its final stage, with many important tasks already completed and the project team working on the last elements to conclude the project by the end of June.
- System integration: The contemporary power plant design will be adapted to the expected temperature, between 120-190°C, and extreme salinity conditions that will occur under the CHPM scheme;
- Integrated sustainability assessments: To ensure the CHPM technology is safe for the environment and society, the project is setting up a framework to assess environmental and socio-economic impacts, and is carrying out baseline economics for energy and mineral raw materials, and;
- Roadmapping and preparation of pilots: To pave the way for the long-term future of the CHPM technology, the project team is analysing study areas in the UK, Romania, Sweden and Portugal, where the technology could be applied, and is using different foresight tools for the horizon 2030 – 2050.
Preliminary outcomes and results will be presented to the public at the CHPM2030 final conference to be held on May 23, 2019 in Delft, the Netherlands, in the framework of the EuroWorkshop Geology and the Energy Transition.