October 29, 2012

How does geothermal energy work?

Students in front of drilling rods at geothermal facility Aspern

This question was raised by the students of Class 2012-2014 of the MSc “Renewable Energy in Central & Eastern Europe” in the scope of their geothermal energy module last week.

From October 25-27, 2012 the students of Class 2012-2014 participated in “Module 4 – Geothermal Energy”. The excursion led them to the geothermal facility Aspern in the East of Vienna. How does geothermal energy work? The drillmaster explained this technique quite at the beginning of the guided tour:

In Aspern there are water-bearing rock formations in a depth of 5,000 meters. These rock formations are developed by two drill holes. Hot water with about 150 degree Celsius is banked to the surface through one of the two drill holes. In the heat exchanger the thermal energy is extracted from the hot water and fed into the district heating system. With this energy Seestadt Aspern and parts of Vienna are powered with heat energy and hot water. To close the water cycle again the cooled down thermal water is reverted into the depth through the other of the two drill holes.

Actually they reach a depth of 3,000 meters, the temperature of the hot water there is 130 degree Celsius. The project team is very pleased with these results.

Afterwards the students viewed the drilling tower (unfortunately without ascenting it), and had the chance to feel up drill rods and drills in real life. Mr. Götz, the drillmaster was delighted because of the exorbitant interest by the students and answered all questions of detail. The students enjoyed this excursion very much and wanted to stay on.

Information on geothermal facility Aspern (only in German available): http://www.wienenergie.at/eportal/ep/channelView.do/pageTypeId/11894/channelId/-32117

Video of construction of the drilling tower Aspern:


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