Wed, 28 June, 2023
Italian geothermal associations, consultancies and operators met the GeoSmart project partners in Florence on 22 June, during a panel meeting organised by COSVIG (Consortium for the Development of Geothermal Areas), thanks to the contribution of the Regional Council of Tuscany.
The aim of the panel meeting was to discuss and understand how the project innovations can contribute to address challenges that the Italian geothermal industry is facing in the management of the resource.
The schedule of presentations from the GeoSmart partners was defined after a round of sixteen interviews on the project related topics and involved primary Italian stakeholders engaged in deep geothermal projects, including operators, project developers and consultancies, manufacturers, associations and researchers. These meetings allowed the interests and challenges that the Italian geothermal industry is facing to be identified in relation to the technological innovations proposed by GeoSmart.
The meeting began with Loredana Torsello and Dario Bonciani from COSVIG and Paolo Taddei from Spike Renewables, the Italian partners of the GeoSmart project, who introduced the meeting and provided a brief description of geothermal energy in Tuscany, one of the main geothermal regions in Europe.
This was followed with an overview of the GeoSmart project and other geothermal initiatives by Namrata Kale and Jon Blackburn from TWI.
The description of the innovations being installed in Kizildere 2 (Turkey), one of the two demo sites of the project, was covered by Ural Halaçoğlu from Zorlu Energy, who also presented the challenges and expectations of technologies that will increase the flexibility of this flash-technology plant, through different thermal storage systems. More about challenges in geothermal operations and information about the second demo site, the binary plant of Insheim (Germany), was presented by Jijo Johnson from Natürlich Insheim, who deepened lessons learned in mitigating scaling and corrosion phenomena.
Elie Ghanatos from CEA focused on the technologies being implemented by GeoSmart; presenting on high temperature thermal energy storage and how it can improve the flexibility of the two demo sites in providing heat and power.
Solutions related to the silicate scaling reduction being implemented in Kizildere 2 were presented by Paolo Taddei, from Spike Renewables. This system, which is of great interest for Italian stakeholders, won’t use scaling inhibitors and will also allow for the recovery of more heat from geothermal brines upstream of the reinjection and recover silica to be sold in the market. Samuel Scott from the University of Iceland presented results of models to assess the reservoir sustainability impacts due to the reinjection of fluids downstream the scaling reduction system.
A presentation of Kolbrún Ragna Ragnarsdóttir and Gunnar Gunnarsson from Reykjavik Energy on the Icelandic experiences related to challenges for the management of supercritical geothermal resources concluded the morning session. This pitch mentioned projects carried out in Iceland on this topic and the newly launched COMPASS project, funded by the Horizon Europe Programme, which also addresses key aspects common to GeoSmart, including studies on materials and mitigation of scaling and corrosion.
The afternoon session was dedicated to interventions from Italian stakeholders and started with a presentation of Riccardo Corsi from Unione Geotermica Italiana (the Italian Geothermal Union), on the causes that are hampering the greater use of the still untapped geothermal potential of Italy. These are mostly non-technical barriers, such as environmental concerns, ‘NIMBY’ syndrome, bureaucracy, long-lasting authorisation processes and a lack of incentives. Corsi also gave interesting hints to deepen aspects related to technological challenges that the Italian geothermal industry is facing with fluid chemistry.
Alessandro Lenzi from Enel Green Power, one of the world’s leading geothermal operators with 1.069 MW of installed capacity (of which 916 MW in Italy), reported their experiences in managing plants and the production of power and heat. Enel Green Power provides heat to 26 ha of green houses, a brewery, dairies, other agrifood industries and more than 13.000 users connected to district heating networks. The other operator that attended the event was Sorgenia Geothermal, with Alessandra Di Matteo describing the challenges for the development of the binary plant in Tuscany, with a focus on their most advanced project; the Val di Paglia power plant.
Matteo Quaia from Steam reported their experiences in mineral extraction from geothermal brines and management of fluids with high silicate contents, through a system designed by them and built in Asia and Central America.
Innovative solutions can contribute to improve the efficiency of plants, the sustainability of geothermal exploitation and a greater diffusion of systems that use the heat under our feet. The demonstration of innovations in real cases, supported with public funding, contributes to the growth of the entire sector, whereas collaborative projects at European level allow different leading actors in both research and industry to join forces.
It was with these assertions that COSVIG started the final session of the panel meeting, during which an open debate among participants was held to discuss on how GeoSmart innovations can help stakeholders in facing challenges linked to the use of fluids.
(Article produced courtesy of COSVIG)
The GeoSmart project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 818576