Geoterma: exploring new uses for geothermal water
Joint Stock Company Geoterma is a Lithuanian state-owned company set up for the purpose of investigating geothermal energy resources, improving its extraction technology and its utilisation for economic activity. JSC Geoterma has built a geothermal heat demonstration plant in Klaipeda on the Lithuanian Baltic Sea coast. This plant supplies heat to the city of Klaipeda’s district heating network from December to April each year. The geothermal water, which has a very high mineral content, is drawn from wells more than 1100m deep. The temperature ranges from +38C to +80C. In practical terms, the geothermal heat supplied by this deep geothermal water is used for heating buildings and in the preparation of hot water.
So far, the geothermal water supply in Klaipeda has been operational only during the cold months of the year (December to April). To make the operation of the geothermal water facility more sustainable and profitable, Geoterma is exploring potential new activities and uses for the summer and autumn/spring months, when no heating services are needed in Klaipeda. Ideas to valorise the geothermal water and energy range from aquaculture – fish or shrimp cultivation – to health applications such as a thermic spa resort. For these purposes, the geothermal water has been thoroughly analysed. In 2015 it was certified by the National Institute of Public Health-National Institute of Hygiene in Poland to be suitable for use as therapeutic water and as water for swimming pools. Several other institutes have also carried out further testing which has e.g. excluded the presence of harmful microorganisms and determined the level of radiation to be normal.
Becoming part of the ALLIANCE has given us a chance to discover more creative ideas and scientific analysis of our potential.
JSC Geoterma is collaborating with scientific ALLIANCE partners such as Klaipeda Science and Technology Park (KSTP), the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the ALLIANCE lead partner GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel to develop a biological model for potential uses of the geothermal water. Based on the results of these surveys, Geoterma and the business-experts within the ALLIANCE will develop a business model to transform it into a facility operating all year round. Besides looking at the uses for the geothermal water itself, Geoterma has also taken samples from the water at more than one kilometre depth, from which scientists are attempting to isolate possibly new microorganisms.