Geothermal power plant
© Joseph Maniquet -
Geothermal power plants use geothermal energy to generate power.

GEOTHERMICA – ERA-NET Cofund Geothermal

Europe wants to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the energy supply for industrial processes, for heating and cooling or generating power. As a low-CO2 and continuously available source, geothermal energy can make an important contribution to a sustainable and secure energy provision - as a direct heat source, by means of heat pumps or for the production of power.

To this end GEOTHERMICA pools the know-how and financial resources of geothermal research and innovation programmes from 16 countries. The members develop and test innovative concepts for the use of geothermal energy in the energy system of the European Energy Union. Financially supported by the European Commission, they particularly strive to identify opportunities for accelerated commercial use.

In joint calls, GEOTHERMICA invites companies and research institutions in Europe to submit project ideas. GEOTHERMICA has already allocated 30 million euros for the first call, especially for large demonstration projects with strong industry participation. A further 20 million euros are available for the second call, which was opened at the end of 2019. A third call was published in mid-2021 in cooperation with the ERA-NET Smart Energy Systems. The call is therefore not solely focused on geothermal technologies. The submitted applications are currently close to the evaluation phase. The final funding decision is expected in mid-2022.

Development of sustainable and competitive geothermal plants

In order to close gaps between research and markets in the field of geothermal energy, GEOTHERIMCA supports innovative solutions to issues and barriers identified in the previous ERA-NET Geothermal. The emphasis here is on three overarching technological focal areas. They cover all phases of the development of a sustainable and competitive geothermal plant:

  1. Identification and assessment of geothermal resources
  2. Development of geothermal resources
  3. Integration into the energy system and operation

Furthermore, there is an additional focus on four overarching, non-technological aspects:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Knowledge exchange
  3. Public perception of the geothermal sector
  4. Regulatory framework, risk mitigation and economic efficiency

In terms of content, the funded projects cover a broad range of topics. Researchers are for example working on thermal storage, the management of induced seismicity, the drilling and completion of geothermal systems, production processes or integrated geothermal applications.

With Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, Slovenia, Portugal and the Azores, Spain, Denmark, Romania, Belgium (Flanders), Ireland, Norway and the United States of America, a total of 16 countries are participating in GEOTHERMICA. Started in 2017, the program will run until mid-2022 after an extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the participating countries and GEOTHERMICA will manage the approved projects as an initiative outside of the EU project until finalization.

In total, eight projects with partners from 15 countries are being funded in the first GEOTHERMICA Joint Call. They are currently being implemented. With CAGEGeConnectHEATSTOREPERFORM and  ZoDrEx, there are also five projects with German participation. The total volume of the projects, including the own contributions of the participating industrial partners, amounts to 42 million euros.

The second GEOTHERMICA Joint Call aims to build on the successes of the first call for funding. A total of seven projects with partners from eleven countries were selected here. DEEPENSPINEDEEP and GRE-Geo are four more projects with German participation in this second call. These projects have also already entered the implementation phase. The total volume amounts to 39 million euros.

In the third GEOTHERMICA Joint Call, further transnational projects will be funded together with the network Joint Programming Platform Smart Energy Systems (JPP SES). Projects with a total volume of 52 million euros are in the forthcoming evaluation phase.

Contact Person Projektträger Jülich

Dr. Stephan Schreiber