On January 24th was held at National University of Ireland, Galway, a CPD Event open to the public on Geothermal Energy in Ireland and the solution of the GEOFIT project. The presentation was led by Ric Pasquali, President of the Irish Geothermal Association, and followed by talks on the GEOFIT project by Thomas Messervey from R2M and Gisela Soley from COMSA.
The aim of this presentation was to discuss in detail the issue of geothermal energy, a largely untapped resource to date that has a great deal of potential. More particularly, the presentation discussed the potential of geothermal energy in Ireland, which will help in the near future to move towards sustainability.
The CPD event was briefly introduced by Dr. Marcus Keane (NUIG) who explained Ireland’s geothermal resources and the history of the first heat pumps.
Ric Pasquali, representing The Geothermal Association of Ireland, focused his lecture on the current and future uses of Geothermal Energy in Ireland.
He began the talk by explaining the different types and uses of Geothermal Energy and specifying which are today the shallow and deep resources that Ireland has. In addition to explaining the uses given to Geothermal Energy in Ireland, he expanded the framework by explaining the uses of this energy in the context of the European Union, and detailed all the existing collector types in Shallow Geothermal.
Ric Pasquali also shared with the public past and present projects, and case study examples of systems in Ireland.
The conclusions set out by this Geothermal expert were that there is a geothermal solution for all locations in Ireland and that the shallow geothermal market is already relatively mature. He also argued that innovations are needed in the geothermal sector to reduce capital investment costs, to increase market share in heating and cooling and to integrate into difficult environments and end uses.
Finally Ric Paquali stressed the importance of education and outreach to increase acceptance by key stakeholders: the general public, policy makers, system designers and specialist contractors like installers and drillers.
The next speaker was Thomas Messervey, CEO of the company R2M Solution, which coordinates the European project GEOFIT. He presented GEOFIT within the context of Horizon 2020 and INEA (the Innovation & Networks Executive Agency) and listed all the technologies used in the project, explaining their characteristics.
The last speaker was the engineer Gisela Soley, who as coordinator of the pilot sites in the GEOFIT project, explained to the public an overview of the pilots in relation to the technical objectives, the management that is being carried out to implement them, the potential risks of the pilot sites and the first steps.
Gisela Soley stopped especially to detail the pilot sites in Ireland: the Kingfisher Sports Centre in Galway and the residential area in Aran Islands.
Mentioning the Workshop that had been held that same morning with stakeholders in Galway and the one that would be held the next day in the Aran Islands with the inhabitants of the houses where GEOFIT systems will be installed, Gisela pointed out the importance of workshops with local stakeholders to get feedback from existing buildings and be aware of the needs and requirements.
Finally, the CPD Event closed with an Open Panel Discussion.