Store heating & cooling and save CO2 with renewables and geothermal heat pumps

How storage technologies reduce energy consumption

Geothermal energy is a crucial resource for a smart energy system as it provides seasonal energy storage. Energy consumption in the European Union varies greatly according to the season, with a typically higher winter peak to meet heating demand, and a lower summer peak owing to temperate summers and low penetration of cooling in the European market.

With climate change and energy efficiency improvements, the spread between winter and summer peaks is likely to flatten, but it will remain quite significant nonetheless, highlighting the greater need for heating availability in the winter.

Various geothermal energy technologies such as Underground Thermal Energy Storage and Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage answer this demand for long term storage of energy, being proven technically and economically.

The case of the High-Temperature Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage system of the Koppert cress horticultural company in the Netherlands is an example of the benefits these geothermal energy storage technologies can bring.

The system enables the company to store heat up to 46°C from solar thermal collectors, adjacent Combined Heat and Power installations and surplus energy from a geothermal heat pump for cold storage. This energy is then used for the heating and cooling needs of the site.

The use of the heat and cold-stored underground then allow the company to save 15 TJ of natural gas (4200 MWh), and 3.5 TJ of electricity every year (972 MWh), for a corresponding to an annual GHG emission reduction of 1,008 tCO2 equivalent and 491 tCO2 equivalent respectively.

Technical details:

  • GHG savings: More than 1,500 tons of CO2 saved
  • Energy savings: 4200 MWh of natural gas (for heating) and 972 MWh of electricity ever year (for cooling)
  • Heating source: geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal collectors, Combined Heat and Power installations
  • Storage of heat for 46°C