Good morning dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the GFZ Potsdam, the
German national Research Centre for Geosciences and Member
of the Helmholtz Association.
I appreciate very much that you have chosen our institution
for holding the Mid-Term Conference of the EU-project
ENGINE. ENGINE stands for “Enhanced Geothermal Innovative
Network for Europe” and represents a joint action supported
by the 6th Framework Programme of the EU. Its main objective
is the coordination of current Research and Development
activities with respect to Unconventional Geothermal
Resources and Enhanced Geothermal Systems.
I cordially welcome Dr. Schuppers from the Directorate
General Research of the European Commission, who is
responsible for New and Renewable Energy Sources.
In Germany significant funds for geothermal energy research
and development are provided by the Federal Ministry for
Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. This
Ministry is represented today by Mr. Bruchmann who I am also
pleased to welcome.
This Mid-Term Conference marks, as the title suggests,
half-time of the ENGINE coordination action, which was
initiated in 2005 and officially started with a Launching
Conference in February last year in Orléans, excellently
organized and conducted by the French Bureau de Recherches
Geologiques et Minières, BRGM. The Final Conference will
take place in February 2008 at a venue yet to be defined.
After more than one year of cooperation ENGINE has now 35
partners, among them 8 private companies, from 16 European
and 3 non-European countries.
This international conference, which is being attended by
about 130 experts from 28 countries is an important forum in
geothermal research for the communication and exchange of
information and experience between experts from academia,
industry and policy makers. It provides the opportunity to
present recent developments in the environmental-friendly
exploitation and utilization of geothermal resources and
allows participants to meet with experts from around the
world who have a shared interest in the promotion of
There is a noticeable increase in interest from industry in
geothermal energy. Therefore, we are planning to establish a
stakeholder committee for the ENGINE-project later today.
For the many representatives from industry, let me just
mention a few, Mr. Romagnoli from ENEL, Italy, Dr. Cook from
Schlumberger Cambridge, Dr. Yang from Shell, Dr. Bücker and
Dr. Blanke from RWE Germany, and Mr. Beyer from KCA DEUTAG.
Among the many well known experts from all over the world
attending this meeting, whom I all welcome here today, are
Prof. Blackwell from Dallas, Suzan Petty from Seattle,
Zosimo Sarmiento from the Philippines, Mr. Monterrosa from
El Salvador, and Dr. Romo-Jones from Mexico.
Last but not least, I am glad to welcome leading members of
the ENGINE-consortium, in particular, Dr. Foulliac,
President of the Executive Group and Dr. Ledru, Project
Coordinator, both from BRGM, Dr. Flovenz from ISOR, Iceland,
Prof. Rybach from Switzerland, Mr. Elewaut from TNO, and Dr.
Adele Manzella from Italy, just to mention a few.
Themes of this conference include the presentation of the
current status of geothermal technology world wide and the
definition of future research requirements such as cost
reduction, productivity increase and efficiency in the
development and use of geothermal resources. The ultimate
goal of the conference is to strive for an increased
utilization of geothermal energy in Europe and the
initiation of joint future research activities.
In this respect, cooperation between countries already
advanced in the exploitation of geothermal energy with
nations who are still at the beginning of geothermal energy
development plays an essential role. Countries with
particularly favourable geological conditions such as Italy
or Iceland, with their steep T gradients in many regions
have already a lot of expertise in the use of geothermal
energy and profit from low risk and costs. Such countries
are, thus, in a much better geological situation than for
example Germany or Poland which are - in most regions -
distinguished by normal geothermal gradients. However, the
exploitation of geothermal energy from low-enthalpy
resources is of particular importance as it will open -
literally and in the figurative sense - new horizons in the
application of this renewable energy.
Therefore, the development of geothermal technologies for
the use of low-enthalpy deep geothermal resources is a
challenging field for future research. In this respect the
hot saline waters contained in the North German Sedimentary
Basin offer, as we believe, great potential for the
exploitation of geothermal energy in the form of heat or
The GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam has been dealing with this
subject for many years and is participating in the Programme
“Renewable Energies” of the Helmholtz Association with the
research topic “Geothermal Technologies”. This programme
centres mainly around the generation of electricity.
We concentrate on the utilization of deep geothermal
reservoirs and focus on the identification of suitable
geological structures for extracting energy and on the
development of new methods to increase the productivity of
For this purpose we reopened and deepened - in a first step
- a former gas exploration well near Groß Schönebeck, some
30 km northeast of Berlin, to a depth of a little over 4300
m and used it as a geothermal in-situ laboratory for testing
stimulation concepts. The objective of these stimulation
operations has been to create secondary flow paths and to
improve the inflow performance of the well.
Groß Schönebeck is also one of the test sites of the
EU-project I-GET (Integrated Geophysical Exploration
Technologies for deep fractured geothermal systems), where
new, cost-effective and reliable geothermal exploration
techniques are developed to increase the success rate of
Just a few days ago, the next step of our project was
completed. We drilled our second well at the location Groß
Schönebeck to a final depth of 4400 m so we now have a
doublet allowing access to the deep Rotliegend reservoir
with its hot water resources. This reservoir consists of a
sequence of sandstones, conglomerates, and volcanic rocks
containing saline fluids with formation T of 150° C in
porous and fractured horizons.
Within the next few months we will be conducting a series of
sophisticated experiments in this second well that are
designed to lead to a reliable technology for sufficient
production of deep fluids in such reservoirs.
We hope that with this project in Groß Schönebeck we will be
able to demonstrate that even under the not very favourable
conditions in Germany, low-enthalpy deep hydrothermal
reservoirs can be used for energy production.
Looking back at the first year of ENGINE, the growing
interest of international partners, especially energy
providers, shows that geothermal energy is increasingly
gathering attention and is becoming more and more attractive
as a promising energy option, not only in high-enthalpy regions.
I wish you all a pleasant stay in Potsdam, a successful
meeting, and - since 2007 has just begun - a happy New Year.
I will now hand over to Christian Foulliac who will speak about
“Reinforcing the role of Enhanced Geothermal Systems in the
future energy mix”.