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Subsurface potential for the energy transition


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GeMex: studies of unconventional geothermal systems

The H2020 GeMex research project, completed in 2020, involved European and Mexican consortia in a cooperative programme to develop unconventional geothermal systems, such as EGS (enhanced) or SHGS (super-hot). The study on two Mexican sites, Acoculco (not in operation for EGS) and Los Humeros (in operation for SHGS) led to the proposal of methods for exploring, characterising and evaluating reservoirs as well as concepts for operating these systems. As a stakeholder in the project, BRGM produced integrated geomodels of the two sites and contributed new knowledge on their hydrothermal circulation, based on a geochemical study of geothermal fluids and numerical simulations., a new reference site

A new internet portal,, created jointly by Ademe and BRGM, is a scientific, educational and practical resource for individuals, local authorities and businesses wanting to find out about and develop near-surface and deep geothermal energy systems. It offers many useful resources (maps, examples, regulations, technical guides, etc.) as well as a free newsletter.

Near-surface geothermal potential displayed by the regional visualisation tool on the website (Nouvelle Aquitaine Region). © BRGM

Developing the “positive energy” route

BRGM has signed a Carnot research contract with Eurovia to study inter-seasonal underground storage of heat captured from roads using the Power Road® concept, combined with a heat pump system to return it to surrounding buildings and infrastructures. Three solutions will be assessed from the energy production angle: a geothermal probe field, and storage in aquifers and underground tanks sunk into reworked ground.

The Power Road® solution is based on a solar thermal collector set into the roadway. The heat absorbed by the solar collector is recovered by the heat exchanger and can be stored or returned immediately, as in the case of the Fleurs swimming pool (42). © Adrien Cailliau/Photothèque Eurovia

10th anniversary of the BRGM’s geothermal energy platform

On 24 June 2019, BRGM celebrated the 10th anniversary of its geothermal platform, where all types of closed-loop shallow geothermal heat exchangers can be tested under real conditions. On this occasion BRGM inaugurated a new technological system of thermodynamic machinery able to simulate heat exchanges between the subsurface and the energy systems of a building.

CO2Serre (greenhouse) project for agricultural uses of CO2

Launched at the end of 2019 and financed by the Centre-Val de Loire Regional Council, CO2Serre is studying the technical and economic feasibility of reducing CO2 emissions while contributing to the circular economy in the region. The aim is to capture CO2 produced by a biomass boiler plant for use in local agricultural greenhouses, with the surplus being stored in geological formations.

Improved productivity of deep geothermal wells 

On 6 and 7 November 2019, BRGM organised a meeting attended by some fifty researchers and professionals, a third of whom came from abroad, to discuss geothermal energy and promote Enhanced/Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS) technology. This international symposium, the first of its kind, ended with a visit to BRGM’s near-surface geothermal energy platform and the deep geothermal site at Semhach, in the Val-de-Marne (Greater Paris). The meeting was held as part of the H2020 Deepegs project, BRGM led the studies to assess simulation methods.

Designing geothermal heat exchangers: for cooling as well as heating

In response to a request from FreeHeat SAS, BRGM designed software for designing geothermal exchangers able to cool buildings, inspired by its digital platform dedicated to heating. Matching subsurface installations to surface needs is essential to guarantee the energy, economic and environmental performance of geothermal systems. For each type of heat exchanger chosen, the tool defines the dimensions needed to meet summertime room temperature standards. It also takes the characteristics of cooling plants into account ,in order to limit the risk of condensation on the floor surface.