Drilling rig at Potsdam, Germany (source: YouTube screenshot / SWPPotsdam)
Two weeks before the end of 2022, the local utility of Potsdam in Germany, Energie und Wasser Potsdam GmbH (EWP), announced the start of the deep geothermal project. A drilling rig had been deployed in Heinrich-Mann-Allee which will drill a well to a depth of around 1800 meters. Drilling of two boreholes is expected to continue until June 2023.
We had previously reported on the efforts of EWP to make the City of Potsdam climate-neutral, in line with the city’s goals of reducing carbon emissions by 95% by 2025. Starting late 2020, EWP in collaboration with the Potsdam Geo Research Center conducted seismic surveys to characterize the region’s subsurface geology and potential for hosting a geothermal resource.
The project developer expects to tap water at 65 to 70 degrees Celsius from a 200-million-year-old layer of red sandstone at 1800 meters depth. EWP expects that the two boreholes can supply the city’s district heating needs for around 50 years. However, there is still some uncertainty on the permeability of the targeted formation and the flowrate of water that can be produced from it.
“We are the first in the region to do this,” said EWP Managing Director Christiane Preuss. “We’re taking all the risks. That is a large sum for our company.” About EUR 20 million will be invested for the project.
When the drilling is finished, the wells will feed energy into the local low-temperature network in the new building district of the municipal housing holding ProPotsdam. If the energy is not fully consumed there, the rest flows to the city-wide district heating network. EWP’s district heating network supplies 60% of the households in Potsdam. Geothermal energy can take over a huge part of the demand which now mainly comes from the thermal power station utilizing natural gas.