LCE-23-2016 - International Cooperation with Mexico on geothermal energy
The project is expected to progress in the technology development applying and consolidating concepts and technologies in different geological contexts therefore reducing technological and social risks of geothermal developments. The project will promote innovation and technological development in Mexico, establishing a reliable scientific framework to increase the number of commercial geothermal activities. In the project context a strengthening of the European geothermal technology base is also expected, expanding European market for geothermal technologies and creating growth and jobs. Scientific exchange of researches and capacity building are envisaged as an indirect project impact.
Proposals should appropriately exploit the complementarities between the EU and Mexico, and pave the way for significant enhancement in the cooperation between researchers and research institutions.
The development of unconventional geothermal systems such as EGS and superhot geothermal resources (including those above the critical point of water) needs further validation and demonstration in specific high-temperature geological environments. Mexico is chosen for testing and developing these technologies further in a relevant geological environment. The focus should be on establishing an inventory of the expanded resource base and on the development of test sites in specific locations.
Proposals shall aim at moving from TRL 3-4 to TRL 4-5 (please see part G of the General Annexes).
Beyond the appropriate regional approach in Mexico, generalised environmental aspects and public acceptance concerns need to be addressed in every phase of the project. Transfer of the knowledge gained to different areas should be pursued. Exploration studies will be performed to provide a comprehensive knowledge of the sites and applied to meet the specific challenges highlighted above.
Proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of around EUR 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Mexico and Europe have high potential for geothermal energy generation; in particular the Mexican geothermal resource settings provide a unique opportunity to apply and further develop methodologies and technologies in the field of EGS (Enhanced Geothermal Systems) and of superhot systems. Cooperation activities are proposed in the framework of the Bilateral Agreement on Science and Technology between the European Union and the United States of Mexico.
The challenge is to increase knowledge and expertise to reduce technological and social risks associated with the development and exploitation of EGS and superhot geothermal fluids. For EGS, issues such as long-term productivity and unwanted side effects, such as induced seismicity, need to be controlled. In superhot systems the geothermal community needs more experience to address the specific challenges arising from the very hot fluids. These challenges include reliable characterization of the geothermal potential and the interaction of these very hot fluids with subsurface and surface installations. Scientific challenges to be addressed include: prediction of chemical and geological properties and their effect on geothermal operations; advanced fracture characterization technologies to determine the ideal exploitation scheme; identification of ideal areas for locating deep wells; high temperature well-logging tools and sensors; smart (high temperature) tracers.