Thu, 01 December, 2022
The aim of VNI within the GeoSmart project is to optimise and demonstrate the flexible generation of electrical and thermal power using geothermal energy. This allows the replacement of fossil energy sources such as natural gas, which are currently used for local district heating. At the same time, the excess energy available from low heat demand during the day will be used to generate electricity. Additionally, the innovative approach at the Insheim power plant allows the flexible supply of energy during seasonal changes of the heat demand in winter and summer. The required new installations will be designed and built within the scope of the GeoSmart project, where the expertise of partners from various fields is merged to optimise the technical layout and thus increase the efficiency of energy production. This will serve as a reference for future geothermal power plants in Europe so that the population benefits from the potential of geothermal energy as a clean technology for both thermal and electrical energy production.
The Natuerlich Insheim GmbH (VNI) was founded in 2021 as part of the Vulcan Energy Resources GmbH. The main task of the company is the promotion of carbon-free geothermal energy production in the Upper Rhine Graben. To reach this goal, Natuerlich Insheim GmbH is operating a deep geothermal power plant at the Insheim site in southern Palatinate (Germany). The low-enthalpy plant generates a maximum electrical output of 4.8 MW using an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), which supplies up to 8000 households with electrical energy at around 8000 operating hours per year. Additionally, the energy of the thermal water has the potential to provide district heating. The Insheim geothermal power plant can be considered as representative for mid-enthalpy geothermal systems in the Upper Rhine Graben, Europe’s prime area for enhanced geothermal system (EGS) research and development.
Vulcan Energy is aiming to decarbonise the transition to electric mobility, through its world-first Zero Carbon Lithium™ project for electric vehicle batteries, and its renewable energy business. Backed by a team of world-renowned experts in chemistry, engineering and geology, Vulcan Energy aims to produce the world’s first, premium, battery-quality lithium chemicals with zero carbon footprint, by harnessing renewable geothermal energy to drive lithium production, without using evaporation ponds, mining or fossil fuels. Vulcan Energy will do this from combined deep geothermal and lithium brine resource, which is Europe’s largest lithium resource, in the Upper Rhine Valley of Germany.
(This article has been published courtesy of The Natuerlich Insheim GmbH (VNI)).
The GeoSmart project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement 818576