€1m in Government funding awarded to three geothermal energy projects

16 Mar 2020

Image: © Cardaf/Stock.adobe.com

Three projects are to share €1m in Government funding to further research in a type of renewable energy rarely seen in Ireland: geothermal energy.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) have announced today (16 March) that €1m in Government funding is being put towards three research projects targeting improvements in geothermal energy usage.

The projects were awarded funding under the 2019 SEAI National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Funding programme, with strategic co-funding support from GSI. Geothermal energy involves harnessing heat energy from within the Earth, and can be accessed by both shallow and deep drilling.

This energy can be used for heating our homes and heating water and, if the source is hot enough, electricity generation. In the volcanic nation of Iceland, geothermal energy is a vital source of heating and electricity.

The three projects

As part of this funding, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies will develop its ‘De-risking Ireland’s Geothermal energy potential’ project dubbed DIG. It aims to reduce risk in harnessing Ireland’s geothermal energy potential using a multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approach. This includes improving the estimation of deep geothermal resources in Ireland based on existing datasets.

Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions has been awarded funding for its ThermoWell project. This will apply novel drilling and exploration techniques to demonstrate the potential economic advantages of deep standing column wells as a renewable heat source.

Finally, Terra GeoServ will use the funding to further develop its ShallowTherm project. This will test a methodology to estimate the underground heat-exchange potential for shallow geothermal installations, in particular, vertical closed loop collectors.

“Projects such as these are at the forefront of knowledge development,” said Dr Phil Hemmingway, head of SEAI’s research and technology department.

“I would like to congratulate the teams behind the successful applications to the SEAI research funding programme, and look forward to seeing the outcomes of the projects, which will contribute to our cleaner energy future.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic