Geothermal Alliance Bavaria – Subproject Efficient and Flexible Power Plants

Partners Chair of Energy Systems (Prof. Spliethoff), TUM
Chair of Technical Thermodynamics and Transport Processes (Prof. Brüggemann), University of Bayreuth
Funding Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Culture, Science and Art
Duration July 2015 to Juni 2019
Contact M.Sc. Kais Siala

Overview of the research project Geothermal Alliance Bavaria

Electricity and heat generation from geothermal energy has a great potential, particularly in the Molasse basin. Harnessing this potential can contribute tremendously to reaching the energy policy targets in the near future. However, projects relying on geothermal energy are associated with high investments and risks with regard to drilling success, and only about 15% of the investment costs are for the power block necessary to generate electricity.

Thermal projects currently provide heat for the base load and the intermediate load at a competitive cost. By simultaneously providing heat and electricity, the low heat demand in the summer months can be compensated by producing electricity with the excess heat.

Compared to the cost of drilling, the cost of the above-ground part of the plant is low. Due to the flexible and efficient production of electricity and heat, the profitability of a geothermal project can be improved. Since the remuneration of electricity from geothermal energy is due to decrease by 5% yearly starting in 2018 according to § 27 of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, the optimization of the above-ground power stations becomes more important.

The overall objective of the project is the optimization of the operation as well as the identification and practical testing of efficient plant interconnections, thereby improving the economics of geothermal power plants. Therefore, a holistic approach is pursued, which tackles current issues on existing installations and also identifies future potential of geothermal energy.

The objectives are:

  • the reduction of own consumption of existing systems through the identification of optimization measures,
  • the thermodynamic optimization of loop processes and the increase of electricity production to improve profitability,
  • the improvement of the flexibility in the cogeneration, and
  • the identification and evaluation of the future potential of geothermal energy in electricity markets.