CORDIS - EU research results

Technologies for geothermal to enhance competitiveness in smart and flexible operation

Project description

Geothermal energy made flexible and cost-effective

Renewables like the Sun and wind increase the uncertainty and variability in energy generation and delivery to consumers. Geothermal plants can help balance fluctuations by operating in a more flexible mode to respond to sudden changes in energy use. The EU-funded GeoSmart project is working on methods to store heat energy when demand is low so that it can be released when demand is high. The project also plans to create a hybrid cooling system for the organic Rankine cycle plant that will prevent efficiency degradation due to seasonal changes. Overall, GeoSmart technologies will allow geothermal plants to cost-effectively respond to different heat and power demands.


Future energy systems will face serious operational challenges with system reliability due to fluctuations caused by progressive integration of solar and wind power. Reliable and sustainable energy sources that can be utilized in large parts of Europe and that are able to balance these fluctuations are needed. Geothermal energy has the potential to become an excellent source for both base and flexible energy demands, providing much lower environmental footprint than both fossil and biomass fuels, as well as much less risks and societal resistance than nuclear power.

There are however some techno-economic challenges which needs to be addressed to facilitate highly flexible operation of geothermal power plants. In GeoSmart, we propose to combine thermal energy storages with flexible ORC solutions to provide a highly flexible operational capability of a geothermal installation. During periods with low demand, energy will be stored in the storage to be released at a later stage when the demand is higher. As this approach does not influence the flow condition at the wellhead, critical infrastructures will be unaffected under variable energy generation. To improve efficiency, we also propose a hybrid cooling system for the ORC plant to prevent efficiency degradation due to seasonal variations. Efficiency will be further improved by larger power plant heat extraction enabled due to a scaling reduction system consisting of specially design retention tank, heat exchanger, and recombining with extracted gases. The scaling reduction system has the potential to almost double power production of many medium enthalpy geothermal plants. Overall, GeoSmart technologies will drastically reduce geothermal energy costs, making it cost competitive with its fossil fuel-based counterparts.
To bring GeoSmart technology to TRL7/8, we will demonstrate it in a medium/high (Turkey) and low (Belgium) temperature fields to show its potential benefits and applicability in different settings.

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Net EU contribution
€ 3 818 330,00
CB21 6AL Cambridge
United Kingdom

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East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 4 440 490,00

Participants (21)