The European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) organizes the European geothermal congress every 3 years. With past editions in Pisa and Strassbourg, the 2019 edition was held in the World Forum in The Hague. Together with EBN, TNO, platform Geothermie I assisted EGEC on behalf of BodemenergieNL, KWR and TU Delft in organizing this edition of the EGC.
We have put NL on the map for geothermal developments
During the opening ceremony, the field trips and the technical sessions we were able to show the current developments and ambitions of NL with respect to geothermal application for the energy transition. Despite the fact that we have no power generation with geothermal in NL, we showed that for “only” heating and cooling purposes geothermal can also contribute significantly. With a projected 75% of the current heating demand to be filled in with geothermal technologies in 2050, NL will rely greatly on the subsurface for decarbonizing the built environment. In various talks the many challenges we face, and proposed solutions we see for the required large up-scaling were presented. As a result of our moderate climate storage technologies in the subsurface are expected to be a significant part of the above mentioned 75%.
To illustrate the advances geothermal application in NL we organized the flower/plant decoration at the venue to come from greenhouses using geothermal heat and/or ATES. Also the food supplier of the world forum already uses many products from such greenhouses. Thanx to Ammerlaan, Natures Heat and Floricultura for providing the plants/flowers and World Forum and van der Maarel for the help in coordination/arrangements making this possible!
Aquifer and borehole systems for storage
Over the past editions of EGC the contribution of aquifer and borehole storage systems has increased significantly. In Pisa in 2013 this was hardly given attention, in Strassbourg in 2016 there was already a bit more sessions on this. While now there were 6 dedicated sessions on storage/heat pump technologies, 2 site visits to such projects and also contribution in several general sessions like finance, legislation (e.g. Marette Zwamborn on Dutch certification scheme), market developments etc.
During the semi-plenary on shallow geothermal, I presented the research developments in NL. During the session on ATES, Joris Koorneef of TNO presented about Heatstore project we are also participating in, I presented the follow-up research of my Phd we do with IF, Utrecht and Deltares. And my colleague Stijn Beernink presented the work he carried out on analyzing monitoring data of ATES sytems. All the sessions about storage systems were well attended, with rooms being filled up completely all the time.
As a result of our contributions at EGC and our publication track-record we had many valuable talks with people from other universities/institutes across Europe, resulting in various potential cooperation; to be further explored the coming period during visits have been planned to/from Potsdam, Stockholm and Liege. Together with the increased cooperation in the Netherlands among KWR, TU Delft TNO and Deltares, NL is well positioned to play a key role in geothermal development the coming decades.
EGC19 was a great success
A total of about 800 unique participants visited the congress, with 550 people attending the congress each day. About 200 oral and 100 poster presentations were given. We hit bulls-eye by organizing the congress diner at a beach-club in Scheveningen, Tuesday night the sun was out until late and about 350 participants enjoyed the beach atmosphere, nice food and drinks at Barbarossa. “This the best congress diner I have ever attended” we heard several times! Also the site visits were received with great enthusiasm, we showed interesting running projects/companies as well as pilot/research facilities. Thanx to Remon, Koppert-Cress, Vogelear, Huisman and Municipality of The Hague for hosting us!