Incidentally, the project will also be considered the highest altitude at which a geothermal heat pump has been installed – at 3600 meters above sea level.
The project “Geothermal energy for a school in the Arica and Parinacota Region: Rural Energy autonomy pilot” was launched during the 15th anniversary of the Region of Arica and Parinacota together with representatives from CEGA and various local authorities.
A shallow geothermal system will be tapped for the heating of the boarding school. This will then be aided by a geothermal heat pump. The project will have a total investment amount of 219 million pesos (approximately USD 258,400).
Geothermal to address community issues
Linda Daniele, Director of the project and principal investigator of CEGA, said that the through the project “we will be able to demonstrate with facts the great benefits of the use of geothermal resources. Undoubtedly, a great opportunity and also an important challenge to provide thermal comfort to the students of the boarding school so that they can coexist in the best possible way in their high school.”
Victor Paz, Director of the Liceo Granaderos de Putre, said that the geothermal project means that students will now not be forced leave the school because they do not have the best thermal and energy conditions. “Many times we see that the alternative ends up being to migrate from their native towns, looking for the technological advances found in the big cities, but that cannot be the only solution, even less during the first stage of life. We want the children to be safe and comfortable here, no matter how far we are from the regional capital. Many times children are forced to drop out of education for these reasons, and I hope that geothermal air conditioning will help change this scenario.”
Jorge Diaz, Regional Governor or Arica and Parinacota, said that the project is an example of how applied science can be transferred to the reality of the communities and territories. “The academy must not only provide solutions to major scientific problems, but also to community challenges , such as heating the boarding school at the Liceo Granaderos de Putre.”
Earlier this year, CEGA had announced that it had been working with several communities and regional governments to harness low-temperature geothermal resources for heating and air-conditioning. This follows through on a publication made by CEGA on the use of shallow geothermal energy for air-conditioning back in 2022.