In the spring of 2013, a lighthouse investment began in downtown Szeged when the conversion of 25, mostly university- and city-owned institutions to environmentally friendly, geothermal energy heating started with the construction of a cascaded system commonly referred to as the “university thermal circuit”. The construction and subsequent operation of the system is carried out by Szeged-based Geothermal Service Ltd., which sells the extracted geothermal energy to the University of Szeged and the other end-users.
The heat market survey, hydrogeological planning, cost-benefit analysis as well as the successful application process for EU funding were carried out by InnoGeo Kft.
The project supplies the downtown buildings of the University of Szeged (the largest natural gas user of the city), the city library and a newly built hotel, with geothermal energy. The project included the construction of 3 thermal wells (1 production and 2 injection wells), 3.5 km district heating pipelines and 25 heating centres, equipped with a state-of-the-art optical network and SCADA control and display system. The 4.4 MW renewable heat capacity cascaded system produces about 55,000 GJ of heat per year, thus substituting 1.8 million m3 of natural gas per year. In addition, it will achieve an emission-reduction of 3,633 tonnes CO2 / year, or, 100,000 tonnes of CO2 over the planned 30-year service life. The energy cost savings in the relevant university and city institutions are HUF 76 million (200,000 EUR) per year. The total net cost of the construction of the system was HUF 2,001,500,000 (5.6M EUR). The investor Geothermal Service Ltd. received HUF 996,747,000 (2.8M EUR) EU funding.