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Geothermal heating plant in Neustadt-Glewe (Germany), where geothermal electricity production will start in November 2003.
Project in Neustadt-Glewe
Projektinfo 09/2003
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Geothermal Electricity Generation in Neustadt-Glewe

In various geological regions of Germany, warm water (thermal waters) can be found at depths of between 1,000 and 5,000 m below the surface. Depending on region and depth, temperatures can range between 40 °C and 190 °C. Thermal waters in northern Germany and in the Rhine valley are highly saline, while those in the south are usually top drinking water quality.

Germany currently has 24 large hydrothermal heating plants with outputs between 100 kW and 20 MW. The geothermal heat in these plants is often used in cascade form, e.g. heat recovery from thermal waters for district heating and subsequently for drinking water supply. Year-round availability of geothermal energy resources cannot be fully exploited for heat recovery because the drop in demand for heat during the summer months cannot be compensated for by the demand for process heat. Geothermal electricity production during the summer is thus one variation of the system model.

Deep hydrothermal geothermy goes back some 20 years in Germany. Between 1980 and 1990, hydrothermal heating plants went into operation in the towns of Waren, Neubrandenburg and Prenzlau in former East Germany, and other sites were assessed for their suitability. The facilities in Neubrandenburg and Waren were modernised following German reunification. In Neustadt-Glewe (near Schwerin), a new facility model was developed and put into operation in 1995. Neustadt-Glewe has since supplied around 11 MWtherm to a district heating net, 4.5 MW of which is geothermal. The facility was expanded to include electricity generation and was the site of Germany’s first geothermal electricity production in November 2003.

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As part of the German government’s Zukunftsinvestitionsprogramm (invest in the future) scheme, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) has funded research and development projects in the amount of EUR 67 million. These projects include geothermal energy production, construction of research platforms, environmental studies on offshore wind farms, solar-thermal power plants, fuel production from renewable resources, and environmental studies on biomass use and fuel cells. Some EUR 21 million went to geothermal energy.

Also included were projects on hot-dry rock processes in Bad Urach (Schwäbische Alb) and Groß Schönebeck (Brandenburg), and the joint EU project in Soultz-sous-Forêts (Alsace, France). The hydrothermal facilities funded under the scheme are representative of the differing geological conditions: Neustadt-Glewe (North-East Germany), Unterhaching (South Germany) and Offenbach (South West Germany).

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Erdwärme-Kraft GbR