Geothermal Communities (GEOCOM)

The Geothermal Communities FP7 / Concerto Initiative project was launched in 2010 with a vision to increase the visibility of direct heat applications of geothermal energy throughout Europe. This 11 million euro project, funded under the FP7, demonstrated a wide array of research and demonstration components to provide not only firsthand experience for the communities involved in the project, but also to feed the international scientific community with valuable results related to the currently pressing geothermal matters such as reinjection into sandstone reservoirs and trans-boundary utilisation of geothermal aquifers. The main objective of the project was to implement pilot-scale demonstration of the geothermal energy utilisation on the 3 selected demo-sites, Morahalom (Hungary), Galanta (Slovakia) and Montieri (Italy). The demonstration activities were complemented by applied research tasks on (1) the technological background of the geothermal resources including system optimisation and system integration; (2) and also on the socio-economic aspects of the current and future investments. One of the key elements of the project was the efficient dissemination and training activities that both raised public awareness on RES application and helped transferring the project technology and approach to other communities in the region and beyond. InnoGeo Ltd participated in an advisory role in the project and provided expertise to the Municipality of Morahalom in demonstration and research activities. Demo sites Mórahalom: Morahalom is a small town (pop. 5800) situated in the south of Hungary on the border with Serbia. It used to be listed among the 50 most disadvantaged communities of Hungary, but the investments of the past decade – upon some the current project also builds on – launched it into the top 10 most dynamically developing settlements. The installation of the geothermal district heating system can be considered the most influential and of highest impact of them all, which also presented a solid foundation to the local GEOCOM components. The GEOCOM project aimed to improve the cascade system with a set of new elements to ensure total utilisation of geothermal energy and to demonstrate cutting edge energy efficiency/retrofitting measures that are currently lacking from geothermal projects in Eastern-Central Europe. Galanta: The city of Galanta (pop. 16.500) is situated in the SW part of Slovak Republic, about 50 kms NE from the capital city, Bratislava. Galanta pioneered in the use of renewable energy sources among the countries behind the “Iron Curtain” by developing its own geothermal-based district heating system in the early 1980s. The two production wells – tapping into the reservoir of Upper Pannonian sandstone at 2101m and 2102m depths respectively – provide the necessary quantity (regulated 20-25 l/s each) of the 78°C geothermal fluid for a whole district of the city, where it is utilised as a heating agent and also for DHW purposes. The project focused at this demonstration site on improving the energy efficiency of those estates which are supplied by the geothermal heat. For this reason 3 housing units, a kindergarten and a primary school were selected as subjects for the model retrofitting actions complemented by basic system integration measures. Montieri: The medieval village of Montieri (pop 1250) is located in the southern flank of the Larderello Geothermal District, about 15 kms SSE from the city of Larderello in Tuscany. The GEOCOM activities involve the whole community delivering three distinct actions: 1) Building a brand new and highly efficient district heating system to utilize high enthalpy geothermal steam from the Montieri-4 well (courtesy by ENEL) 2) Retrofitting a number of selected public buildings and 3) deploying 8.5 kW solar PV as part of the system integration scheme. The sheer volume and complexity of these investments alone would render the Montieri demonstration site to be the flagship component of the GEOCOM initiative. In addition to this the allocated budget further reinforces its special status among the project demo sites.