October 24, 2023

Drilling commences for deep geothermal research at Weisweiler site in Germany

Drilling has started for the deep geothermal research project as part of the DGE-Rollout at the site of the Weisweiler power plant in NRW, Germany.

Drilling has officially started for the first exploratory borehole for deep geothermal energy at the site of the Weisweiler lignite-fired power plant in Eschweiler at North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany. Power utility RWE Power is conducting the drilling as part of the Interreg research project “Roll-out of Deep Geothermal Energy in North-West Europe” or DGE-ROLLOUT.

The geothermal research project at Weisweiler is being managed by the Geological Service NRW with partners Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy (IEG) and RWE Power. The cooperation agreement between Fraunhofer IEG and RWE Power was signed back in 2021, and plans for drilling were announced earlier this year.

The exploratory borehole will be drilled to a depth of only 100 meters. The exploratory borehole will first be technically evaluated and then expanded into a seismological observatory by Fraunhofer IEG. This makes the borehole part of a network of monitoring stations for the deep subsurface in the Weisweiler area.

A second exploratory borehole, approximately 500 meters deep, is to be drilled next door at the beginning of next year. Fraunhofer is to install a geothermal probe there to supply the observatory. Data from the exploration wells is intended to provide new insight into the subsurface of the region. Based on the results of the two wells, deep exploratory drilling can then be done later on under the direction of Fraunhofer IEG.

“District heating from thermal water – that would be a technologically new component of the energy transition for our region. A district heating pipeline runs from the Weisweiler site to Aachen. If regeneratively generated district heating flows through them one day, like our wind power and solar projects here in the district, it will be another tangible contribution from RWE to regional structural change,” said Dr. Lars Kulik, board member of RWE Power.

Source: ZfK, RWE, and Fraunhofer IEG

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