CEGA hosted conference to promote geothermal energy in different productive processes

Tuesday, 22 de November

The meeting brought together different members from the energy market, who seek to promote geothermal direct use: a clean, efficient and abundant local resource.

Last November 18th took place the “Low Enthalpy Geothermal Seminar”. The activity was organized by the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA), along with the German companies Energy Solutions and Hydrotherm, and the German state agency Energie.Agentur.NRW

The activity gathered more than 100 participants from the public sector, researchers and companies interested in using geothermal energy for residential heating or to foster more efficient and clean processes into the Chilean agricultural and industrial market.

Different companies shared their experiences in low enthalpy projects. Also, participants learned more about Energie.Agentur.NRW of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. This region has been promoting an efficient energy policy for years, and currently has more than 137.000 geothermal heat pumps installed in the area.

This success, says Magdalena Sprengel, in charge of International Relations Division of Energie.Agentur.NRW, is due to an efficient information flow between government, companies and research centers. This exchange guarantees more support for companies that boost geothermal energy in new markets.

Jens-Uwe Pietzsch, from Hydro.Therm company, assured that Chile has excellent conditions to implement technologies that allow to take advantage of Earth`s heat: “The problem is the lack of dissemination. It is important to promote more this resource in order to start considering its existence and benefits from the beginning of the planning of a project “.

The activity also included the presentation of the german companies Waterkotte and Wilo, both with experience in development and implementation of geothermal heat pumps. The european experience – says Mauricio Escarate of the Chilean company ODEN- is interesting because there is a lack of exchange with those who are promoting low enthalpy projects around the world: “The first few years in Oden we strongly dedicated to the diffusion of this energy, but still the ignorance is big. People do not know what geothermal is, which makes difficult the implementation of this technology”.

Miguel Atienza, representative of Chilean-Spanish company Geomarket, agrees with this diagnosis. For him, the barriers remain because “there is still a very short-term perspective, and these technologies require a strong investment in the beginning. In that sense, the Chilean market is very weak. That’s why these kinds of meetings are important”.

In this regard, Elizabeth Soto, from the Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Energy, stressed the importance of generating strategies to promote geothermal energy from the self-consumption scale and direct uses, allowing to demystify it exclusive application in electricity generation projects.

Currently 82 countries around the world are taking advantage of low enthalpy geothermal energy. According to CEGA estimations, Chile has a total installed capacity of 19.91 MWt. However, it is estimated that this figure might be higher because many companies do not communicate their data, making complex to generate a real estimation. In this regard, Diego Morata, CEGA`s Director, stressed the importance of consolidating a Chilean low enthalpy network, which can allow the exchange of technical information between different actors and give visibility to those successful and profitable applications installed in our country.