The LOW-BIN project aims in improving cost-effectiveness, competitiveness and market
penetration of geothermal electricity generation schemes, targeting both hydrothermal
resources for immediate market penetration and future hot dry rock systems, by:
- Widening market perspectives of geothermal Rankine Cycle power generation by
developing a unit that can generate electricity from low temperature geothermal
resources, with temperature threshold for profitable operation at 65ºC, compared with
90-100ºC of existing units.
- Developing a Rankine Cycle machine for cogeneration of heat and power by heat
recovery from the cooling water circuit. This will lead in cogeneration of heat and
power from Rankine Cycle units in present and future geothermal district heating
schemes with overall energy efficiency of 98-99%, compared with 7-15% for existing
units producing only electricity and for 35-60% of existing geothermal cogeneration
The project will involve theoretical research, laboratory experimentation,
pre-prototype development, technology evaluation of the pre-prototype in terms of
technology breakthrough achievement, energy efficiency, electricity generation costs
and market potential, manufacturing and demonstration of successful prototypes,
monitoring and technology validation, as well as dissemination of the technology and
other innovation related activities.
The LOW-BIN project consortium consists of 9 partners from 8 countries: CRES (Greece-
Coordinator), TURBODEN (Italy), GFZ-Potsdam (Germany), GEOTEAM (Austria), University
of Oradea (Romania), ESTSetubal (Portugal), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), BRGM
(France) and ISOR (Iceland). The consortium involves 3 SME partners (TURBODEN,
GEOTEAM and ISOR), which represent 62,21% of the budget. The total budget of the
LOW-BIN project amounts at 3.935.713 euro, of which 13,70% is devoted to R&D
activities, 74,50% for Demonstration and 8,46% to Innovation Related Activities. The
EU Funding requested is 1.878.812 euro (47,74%.
Project LOW-BIN addresses short-to-medium term research and complies with the
guidelines described in the Thematic Priority 6.1 work-programme as it will deliver
results, which will accelerate the market penetration of innovative energy
technologies with a particular emphasis on 2010 energy policy objectives. These
technologies are Rankine Cycle geothermal power plants, improved by the activities of
LOW-BIN project in terms of market opportunities due to broader range of geothermal
supply temperature, as well as in terms of improved overall energy efficiency and
costs. Market penetration of geothermal power plants will be accelerated by the
results of LOW-BIN project as:
- 65-90ºC input temperature allows Rankine Cycle geothermal power plants to target
the market segment of hot groundwater, which is widespread beneath the European
Continent at economic depths less than 2km;
- the proposed technological solution for the geothermal combined heat and power
generation allows dramatic energy efficiency and cost improvements in geothermal
power and district heating schemes, facilitating immediate market penetration of
geothermal energy utilizing hydrothermal resources of temperature higher than 120ºC
(e.g. Iceland, Italy, Greece, Romania and elsewhere) and paving the way for the
future exploitation of the vast hot dry rock geothermal resources, which abound at
depths 3-5 km.
The LOW-BIN project consists mainly of integrated demonstration actions with a
typical research component of about 20% and also includes: pre-normative research,
energy technology integration, dissemination and technology transfer activities.
Apart from technological risks also addresses market and cost issues; the developed
prototypes will be manufactured and demonstrated only if all technological, market
and cost prospects are positive, as determined by the technology research and market
feasibility analysis performed.
The LOW-BIN project will demonstrate, on the one hand costs reductions associated
with low temperature geothermal electricity (both prototypes), and on the other, how
the integration, under full-scale operating conditions, of innovative technological
solutions on geothermal cogeneration of heat and power (2nd prototype), can lead to
improving both energy efficiency and costs.