The work programme of the priority thematic area 1.6 "Sustainable energy systems" of
the 6th framework defines a priority on innovative concepts for cost-effective
investigation, assessment development and management of potentially exploitable
Unconventional Geothermal Resources. The main potential impact expected from the
Co-ordination Action is to re-establish the institutional and political support that
is currently lacking to ensure that geothermal energy reaches its full efficiency and
profitability thresholds at European scale.
This reestablishment requires a mobilisation throughout the entire geothermal-energy
It is first of all necessary to structure the geothermal-energy community towards the
definition of innovative research projects. The expected impact is the mobilisation
of a large scientific and industrial community that will concentrate on the problem
of “Heat exchange with the Earth’s thermal Engine”, taking into account the European
policy for renewable energies and the targets defined by the circulars.
- Earth-science professionals must pay attention to applications of the knowledge
recently acquired on the structure of the Earth’s crust, particularly in Europe, for
societal needs. How is heat partitioned at depth, what are the driving forces and
what are the links between present-day stress fields and fluid circulation at the
scale of a basin or that of a basementcover interface? Answers to such questions
would constrain the localisation at depth of potential heat-exchange reservoirs and
thus have a high scientific impact.
- Geophysical methods and exploration techniques (3D and 4D seismic, drilling and
microdrilling methods…) used by the oil and gas industry have been improved and
adapted to allow investigation and production in new basins, for example deep water,
Successful application of this technology will reduce the geological uncertainty and
hence lower the risk of drilling unsuccessful wells. It will also have a profound
impact on the geothermal investigation methodologies used to identify and prove up
- The geothermal reservoir engineers must define the range of heat source parameters
(nature, depth, physical) for which exploitation tools are either available or need
to be developed at the short, medium or long term. They will then be in a position to
define generic reservoir systems that geologists, geophysicists and geochemists will
be able to translate into favourable geological settings. This type of coupled
technological and scientific approach will enable the development of integrated
projects and have a high impact on the European Energy Policy.
- Geothermal field operators and industrial enterprises involved in geothermal energy
conversion and use must seek ways to drastically reduce both capital and operating
costs and improve overall conversion efficiency. As existing equipment is tailor made
for hydrothermal systems, they need to be adapted for use with enhanced
unconventional geothermal systems such as hot dry rock.
- A permanent link will be established with other projects concerning geothermal
energy. This will be the case with the Hot Dry Rocks Soultz experiment, the new I-GET
STREP project that concerns the use of geophysical methods of investigation for
assessment of geothermal reservoirs, the projects concerning the development of
Larderello, Bouillante and Iceland geothermal field and in particular with the Deep
Drilling project from Iceland.
The first condition for the emergence of such integrated projects is a capitalisation
of the knowledge of the different actors currently playing in the "geothermal field",
which implies sharing experiences, exchanging best practices and clearly identifying
the gaps and barriers.
These are the objectives of the Co-ordination Action. The expected impact of this
Coordination Action is that a large scientific research community will be mobilised
that is able to promote such spin-off projects with industrial partners.
The Co-ordination Action intends to play a "transmission role" and constitute an
exchange platform. It will provide an opportunity to integrate and synthesise all
information about know how, practices, innovations and barriers at the level of the
Steering Committee and Expert Groups. This will be particularly helpful during
discussions with Executive Directors of international funding agencies or National