________________ Beneath the Earth's solid surface there is an unlimited reservoir of energy - geothermy. As fossil resources become scarcer, the focus is turning more and more around the world towards the use of this source. As a young technology, geothermal energy offers enormous development potentials. Herrenknecht offers optimized drilling technology for the efficient exploration of geothermal energy which also promotes the use of this important element in our energy mix in the future.
Small-scale use of geothermal energy
In the use of near-surface geothermal energy, heat is extracted from depths between 50 and 250 meters and is used to heat or cool residential, public, office and industrial buildings. Geothermal probes are inserted into the ground from where they extract heat energy. A transport medium circulating within the probes transfers the heat energy in a closed circuit to a heat pump. This converts the low-temperature thermal energy into heating energy. In this way, a geothermal system can supply heat independently of the time of day or the season of the year.
Electricity production using heat
Wherever two tectonic plates meet, very high temperatures are to be found just a few hundred meters beneath the Earth’s crust. This means that the investment in generating power from geothermal energy is relatively small. However that does not mean that geothermal energy is unavailable for use at other locations. Even in the middle of continental plates, the underground temperature rises continuously with depth. In Germany, for example, this increase is around three degrees Celsius for every one hundred meters. This means temperatures exceeding 100 degrees are found at depths from around 3,500 meters, which is warm enough for electricity production. Innovative drilling technology is indispensable if these layers are to be reached without danger, thus guaranteeing the overall safety of the project.
Excellent challenges for the future
Geothermal energy could play a pivotal role in the energy mix of the future because it reduces the impact on climate and environment, is constantly available and has a high energy efficiency. From planning, engineering design and construction to the operation of mobile Vertical Drilling Rigs for the exploration of near-surface geothermal energy and equipment for deeper geothermal energy exploration to depths of 8,000 meters, Herrenknecht supplies the entire range of integrated technologies.