GEOFIT PROJECT 9TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY – SANT CUGAT 15th – 16th June 2022 

The GEOFIT Consortium celebrated its 9th General Assembly in Sant Cugat for three days attending the European Shallow Geothermal Days, on the 14th of June as part of the external communication activities of the project and the other two days for the presentation and summary of the project since the last General Assembly. The Municipality (Ajuntament) of Sant Cugat, organized the General Assembly to show another milestone within the project, this time in the demo site of the Pins del Vallés School, which is now commissioned and operating. We had the chance to visit the demo site premises and see the field where the boreholes and ground source heat exchangers have been performed and the technical room where the different equipment and systems are installed. 

The partners presented their progress regarding the different work packages and explained the work done during the last months after the 8th General Assembly held in Perugia in December 2021. 

GEOFIT Project Partners at the European Shallow Geothermal Days in Barcelona 

Now the different Work Packages and deliverables are in a final stage according to the work plan and they will be finished during the next 6 months before the end of the project in October 2022. The meeting was focused on the demo sites progress and it was shown the status of Perugia, Sant Cugat, and Aran as they are now being monitored to provide data about the performance of GEOFIT systems, and the Galway demo site status was also explained by the University of Galway in terms of the coming work to make the drillings and install the proper heating systems for the pool energy demand. Regarding the Sant Cugat demo site, the passive cooling system will be finally installed in July 2022. 

Visit to Pins del Vallés School – Sant Cugat, Demo site of GEOFIT Project 

The parallel events planned to disseminate the project have been initiated in 2022, the attendance to the GeoTHERM Expo & Congress by GROENHOLLAND, AIT, and UPONOR has been the first milestone in the series of events to attend, followed by the European Shallow Geothermal Days and will be closed with the participation in the Conference on Modern Materials and Technologies (Perugia, June’22), the European Conference on Structural Control (Warsaw, July’22) and the European Geothermal Congress (Berlin, October’22).  

The GEOFIT webinars for external public are also in the coming agenda with the support of the project partners and the pilot owners. For more information about the different events attendance, results and webinars, please access the project website periodically. 

General Assembly meeting at the Sant Cugat Hotel 

During the rest of the project until October 2022, the pending tasks regarding monitoring, implementation of GEOBIM platform for some of the pilots, the life cycle cost, and social impact analysis will be completed.  

Thanks for this fruitful meeting and let’s go for the final straight! 

GEOFIT Project Participated at the European Shallow Geothermal Days, on the 14th of June 2022 session – Catalonia, Spain 

The European Shallow Geothermal Days took place on 14 to 15 June 2022 at the Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya (ICGC) in Catalonia, Spain. Taking the opportunity to celebrate the ninth general assembly of the GEOFIT project in Sant Cugat (Barcelona), the GEOFIT Consortium attended the event during the 14th of June sessions.  

GEOFIT is now in the last stages of commissioning in the demo sites and the event has represented an opportunity to demonstrate the progress in geothermal systems for cooling and heating in retrofitted buildings. It was possible to show the different aspects covered by the project like, improved drilling technologies, the different geothermal energy extraction and ground source heat pumps, thermal analysis, data gathering, radar monitoring of buildings, digital management, and efficiency of the systems. 

European Shallow Geothermal Days oral sessions 

Shallow geothermal energy represents a well-developed, non-volatile and clean technology for providing efficient heating and cooling across Europe. It is often associated with the use of ground source heat pumps but offers a wide range of applications such as geo-cooling or seasonal heat storage. Still, it is widely considered as a niche technology, however it has the potential to become a powerful game changer towards a decarbonized heating and cooling technology. The next decade from 2021 until 2030 is crucial to fulfil the SDGs defined in the “Clean Energy for all Europeans” initiative of the European Commission. All these aspects are covered by GEOFIT project, and it was possible to show these advances to the geothermal community. 

On behalf of the European Commission, the event connected remotely with the DG Energy Representatives, Eva Hoos and Eric Lecomte, who explained the REPowerEU (EU Revolution on Energy Plan) to develop geothermal heating and cooling, and the updated regulatory framework: Renewable Energy RES Directive. 

DG Energy Representatives, Eva Hoos and Eric Lecomte 

On behalf of the GEOFIT Consortium, Henk Witte, from Groenholland, presented the main project’s results in the afternoon session and it was possible to exchange this experience together with other related European projects and initiatives like GEO4CIVHIC, and leading entities and organizations in the geothermal technologies like GPC IP GEOFLUID, Geological Survey of Austria, DCL GEOENERGY – ITECON, among others. 

Henk Witte presenting GEOFIT Project 

COMET Global Innovation as leader of the communication activities of the project, brought different communication materials to participate in the Poster presentations, including the project videos and other printed material. 

Posters session during the European Shallow Geothermal Days 

The Shallow Geothermal Energy Days was aimed at connecting policy makers to scientists, to promote and discuss opportunities for boosting this technology in the upcoming decade. 

GEOFIT at the GeoTHERM Expo & Congress 2022

GEOFIT was one of the exhibitors at the GeoTHERM, held on June 2nd & 3rd, 2022, in Offenburg (Germany). This expo & congress represents one of the final dissemination and exploitation actions of the project, which will end October this year. GEOFIT showcased its main innovations, from heat exchangers and heat pumps to heating and cooling systems.

GEOFIT will participate in the GeoTHERM EXPO & CONGRESS held on June 2 & 3, 2022 in Offenburg, Germany

GEOFIT Project (Deployment of novel GEOthermal systems, technologies and tools for energy efficient building retroFITting) will participate in the GeoTHERM Expo & Congress 2022. 

This event, to be held on June 2nd & 3rd, 2022, in Offenburg (Germany), is the Europe’s largest geothermal trade fair with congress focused on current developments in the industry and creating a platform dedicated exclusively to the topic of geothermal energy. At the on-site trade fair, an average of 3,600 trade visitors and 200 exhibitors from over 40 nations are expected. 

One of the keys to having more energy efficient buildings is to be able to retrofit their cooling and heating systems to systems that use renewable energies as their main energy supply. Surface or shallow geothermal energy stands out for its great capacity to offer significant energy savings and reduction of greenhouse gases, emerging as one of the options with the greatest potential for implementation in the energy retrofitting of existing buildings. Leading European associations within the sector, such as the European Construction, built environment and energy efficient building Technology Platform (https://www.ectp.org/) and the European Technology and Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating & Cooling (RHC) (https://www.rhc-platform.org/) promote its deployment in order to develop and exploit Europe’s geothermal potential. 

GEOFIT is an EU-funded innovation project aiming to develop and deploy cost-effective Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) on energy efficient building retrofitting, focused on removing barriers to the deployment of this renewable energy in the cooling and heating systems of existing buildings, contributing to achieving European targets for carbon emission reduction, energy consumption and energy efficiency. The project started in May 2018, has 24 partners at European level and a budget of almost €10 million. 

In the fourth year of the project, Comet Global Innovation, the Communication and Dissemination leader of the project, along with the coordinator R2M Solution, want to show the progress of GEOFIT at the GeoTHERM. GEOFIT, besides having a stand dedicated to the technologies developed, will also count with participation of the partners GROENHOLLAND and AIT to present the project results along with the new configurations of ground heat exchangers for shallow geothermal energy and the innovative ground source heat pumps. In addition, the experiences of the demos carried out in Sant Cugat (Spain), Perugia (Italy), Bordeaux (France) and Aran (Ireland) will also be presented. 

Shallow Geothermal Energy – GEOFIT (Easy-to-install, economical and enhanced geothermal systems for energy efficient building retrofitting) – Abstract  

Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Women in Geothermal, fifth interview of the series with Edith Haslinger

The Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Austria’s largest non-university research organization, has a business unit called ‘Thermal Energy System’ specialized on the development of heat pumps and thermal storages on both component and system level, and their integration into industrial processes, buildings and thermal networks. Within Geofit project, AIT is leading the development and demonstration of the electrically driven heat pump prototypes especially for the optimized integration of the newly developed ground heat exchangers and the test of cost-efficient alternative heat exchangers.

Edith Haslinger has been one of the main scientists involved in the optimization of the ground heat exchangers, working together with Groenholland. She is senior scientist at AIT and Project Manager for geothermal projects, both for deep and shallow geothermal and collaborates with industry, other research institutions and also technical offices. Through this interview, she explains how she landed in the field of geothermal energy by pure chance and her experience collaborating in Geofit, her first EU project, which she defines as a really positive project for the scientific community because one really sees that your ideas and visions for projects become real through the demonstration sites, and how these ideas really make a difference for people.

…the most interesting aspect of working with geothermal technologies is that geothermal is not a one uniform homogeneous field of knowledge, it is rather a combination of different fields and subjects. You have drilling, engineering, technical, geology, chemistry, political, social and economic aspects… so for successful geothermal projects you really have to combine all these fields and experience. This is the most interesting, working with different people, with other perspectives, different ideas, and everybody working together with a common goal

Ajuntament de Sant Cugat and Women in Geothermal, fourth interview of the series with Anna Mundet

Ajuntament de Sant Cugat (AJSC) has brought one of the demonstration sites to the Geofit project: Els Pins Vallès School. Some years ago, Ajuntament de Sant Cugat defined the goal of becoming a ‘Smart City’ and this is why it strengthens its focus on innovation based on public-private partnerships, with a strong commitment to testing and deploying forward-thinking solutions, together with private companies. The city has broad experience in successful implementation of full-scale pilots in the city of the winning solutions, in order to evaluate the impact and to lead to broader implementation. 

Anna Mundet has been a key figure in the succesful implementation of the Geofit system at Els Pins Vallès school in Sant Cugat. She is technical engineer in industrial chemistry and works in the Municipal Building Maintenance Department, in the Urban Quality and Mobility Management Area. She defines herself as a person who loves learning new technologies and doing different things at work. She explains her experience in Geofit and the most interesting aspects of working with geothermal technologies.

‘…after working in geothermal technologies research and innovation, this is my first geothermal installation… it is interesting to know the performance of this new system and see if it can be implemented in other public buildings… and what’s more important is that these enhanced geothermal systems can be implemented in existing buildings…’

UNIPG and Women in Geothermal, third interview of the series with Dr. Ing. Anna Laura Pisello

The Engineering School of the Università degli Studi di Perugia (UNIPG) provides training and research activities in the fields of structural, environmental and energy engineering. CIRIAF is an interuniversity research centre funded in 1997 whose objectives are: to promote research on environmental sustainability, renewables and energy efficiency, pollution and its effects on the environment; and to foster activities for the participation in international research programmes.

CIRIAF team brings its expertise in energy systems to the project and manages one of the Geofit pilots represented by an historical building located in the Sant’Apollinare Fortress. 

Dr. Ing. Anna Laura Pisello, PhD in Energy engineering and assistant professor of environmental applied physics with more than five years of experience at UNIPG, explains her role in Geofit and what drew her to this line of work, energy-related.

‘…probably my passion for environmental sustainability and how we can make a change thanks to the improvements in energy efficiency but also human comfort level in the built environment…’

CNR-ITAE and Women in Geothermal, second interview of the series with Valeria Palomba

The Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies (ITAE) was established in Messina in 1980 by the National Council of Research (CNR), the main Italian research public organization. ITAE has long experience in environmentally friendly production, storage and use of energy, and has been contributing to development and penetration of technologies related to energy saving, low polluting energy production, renewable energy sources, hydrogen and fuel cells in Italy and Europe since the early 80’s.

In the field of thermally driven adsorption heat pumps and chillers, ITAE research activity in GEOFIT concerns several fields, covering different levels of development of the adsorption machine. Valeria Palomba, graduated in Materials Engineering at the University of Messina and working at ITAE, is one of the women actively participating in the project, and her work is focused on the development of thermal systems for energy conversion storage.

In this interview, Valeria Palomba talks about the challenges for women within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.

“…GEOFIT is deploying and demonstrating on the operational field different heating and cooling solutions exploiting geothermal energy as a source, so this project is important because we will have five operational sites where the potential of geothermal energy will be demonstrated…”

GEOFIT at the World Geothermal Congress 2020+1

The GEOFIT project was recently presented at the World Geothermal Congress 2020+1 on 26th October in Reykjavík, Iceland. Around 300 people attended the conference across its 3-day duration (25-27 October), and there were 31 participating European-funded research projects (GEOFIT + 30 others) represented in the European Research & Innovation Pavilion organized by the GEOTHERMICA Project (Grant agreement ID: 731117). The pavilion has a dedicated website, and Twitter handle. The pavilion highlighted Research & Innovation European project’s cooperation, displaying the research outcomes, and boosting the positive impact on geothermal needs and untapped energy. There was an opening speech at the Pavilion by EC Project Officer Ms. Filipa Vieira Matias. The GEOFIT presentation was delivered by Zia Lennard of R2M Solution, and after a general introduction of the project it focused on briefing the 5 Pilots and the various tools and methods being utilized within the project. The presentation was recorded and images of the slides are shown below.

WGC 2020+1 had a limited focus on shallow geothermal for low temperature heating and cooling. However, in that regard hopefully the onsite GEOFIT presentation and the associated earlier virtual presentation delivered by Michael Lauermann and Edith Haslinger of the Austrian Institute of Technology raised awareness to the innovativeness of technology coupling at system level, as well as the wide potential and positive socioeconomic impact of geothermal technologies for building renovation for the attendees of the conference, market players, and scientific researchers.

Iceland has a total installed geothermal power generation capacity of 755 MW and is among the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to electricity generation from geothermal. In terms of direct use, Iceland has developed into a role model both with its extensive use for district heating (90% of all homes are heated by geothermal energy), but also in the cascaded use of geothermal heat for bathing and swimming, greenhouse operations, fish farming and more. Moreover, the potential impact of GEOFIT was very apparent when seeing how all homes and buildings in Iceland used to be heated by direct use of geothermal steam, as illustrated in the image below.