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Subsurface potential for the energy transition

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Christophe Renier Chief Technical Officer for Energy Solutions and Industrial Expertise at Storengy

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Christophe Renier — CTO Energy Solution and Industrial Expertise chez Storengy
We are working together on broader, strategically-structured issues in order to define new decentralised and local carbon-free business models.
Introduction d'entête
The subsurface is a key supporting element for the energy transition. Storengy and BRGM are working together to reduce the inherent uncertainties in exploiting subsurface energy resources, and to determine their economic potential in order to position them in relation to other renewable energies.

What is the basis of Storengy’s relationship with BRGM?

C. R. — Storengy, a subsidiary of Engie, the world leader in underground storage of natural gas, considers that underground storage is a vital supporting element for the energy transition. Ties have been forged over the years with BRGM, a key player the field, and it obviously makes sense to work together. We have carried out many projects thanks to our complementary competences, with the BRGM laboratory undertaking the applied research and Storengy as an industrialist.
Building on these long-standing ties, we are further streng­thening our cooperation: in addition to the subjects on which we already work together, we are now discussing broader, strategically-structured issues.

How do you work together in practice?

C. R. — First of all, we collaborate on specific projects. One example is the drilling project for a geothermal doublet to supply the heating network in Bordeaux, which began in 2019. The geothermal reservoir has very specific characteristics and this is an example where research is combined with operational work, with the BRGM recommending operating rules and Storengy applying them to its own operations. Other examples are CHARMS for high temperature geothermal modelling, or STOPIL H2, a pilot project for hydrogen storage in saline cavities at our Etrez storage site: this is a little-studied and fairly innovative topic, since we are addressing the development of green hydrogen and its storage. Finally, with the large-scale European HeatStore project, Storengy and BRGM are helping to speed up applied research on underground heat storage and technology transfers to industry.
Beyond these projects, we are looking ahead to further intensify and structure our collaboration, through discussions at biannual ”management meetings“ that aim to strengthen and accelerate our joint undertakings.

And what are the prospects?

C. R. — Our goal is to define new carbon-free, decentralised and local business models. To do so, we are looking into all forms of geothermal engineering, whether for energy resources or to store heat, cold, CO2, hydrogen, etc. Our partnership with BRGM is essential, certainly in France, and potentially of key importance in the future to reduce the uncertainties inherent in subsurface operations and to determine relevant ways of positioning them in competition with other renewable energies.