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Enhanced geothermal systems (geothermal)


Technology Description

Enhanced or engineered geothermal systems aim at using the heat of the Earth where no or insufficient steam or hot water exists and where permeability is low. EGS technology is centred on engineering and creating large heat exchange areas in hot rock. The process involves enhancing permeability by opening pre-existing fractures and/or creating new fractures. Heat is extracted by pumping a transfer medium, typically water, down a borehole into the hot fractured rock and then pumping the heated fluid up another borehole to a power plant, from where it is pumped back down (recirculated) to repeat the cycle.

Relevance for Net Zero

Opens the opportunity to use a much larger fraction of thermal energy, but there is uncertainty on future costs.

Key Countries

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States

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