Nowadays, governments and organizations worldwide are focusing on adopting renewable energy sources. Moreover, solar and wind power generation technologies have demonstrated potential development among all renewable power generation technologies accessible globally, garnering significant government funding.
Geothermal energy, on the other hand, offers a vast market opportunity, and research into the subject has generated promising results. The resource hasn't been used much in recent years, but several locations throughout the world are projected to maximize the market's potential in the following years.
Although the bulk of natural heat extracted from the Earth's crust is currently untapped, geothermal-based energy generation is gaining traction.
Geothermal-based energy generation is expected to account for a considerable portion of each country's renewable profile within the next half-decade. Researchers and businesses have agreed to work together to increase power output by at least 20 folds in the coming years.
The global enhanced geothermal system (EGS) market is estimated to be $1,841.4 million in 2020. It is projected to reach a value of $3,673.1 million by 2030, at a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period (2022-2030).
Geothermal energy & its applications
Geothermal energy is derived from the Earth's core and is a renewable energy source. It is produced from the heat created during the Earth's creation and the radioactive disintegration of elements. This heat energy is retained in the Earth's core in the form of rocks and liquids.
It has been utilized for preparing food and heating food in various places for centuries. Underground geothermal reserves of steam and hot water can be utilized to generate power for heating as well as cooling.
A geothermal heat pump built roughly ten feet below the surface is one instance of heating and cooling. Water or antifreeze solution is poured into these pipes. The water is pushed all-around pipes in a control circuit. These ground source heat pump installations help in the cooling and heating of buildings throughout the summer. As the water cycles back into the structure, it absorbs the Earth's heat.
The above figure explains the general structure of supply chain management for the enhanced geothermal systems market.
As can be seen clearly, the supply chain for this market is broadly divided into three main segments. These are:
- Tier-1 Suppliers for System Component
- Project Developers/EPC Solution Providers
- End Users
Tier-1 Suppliers for System Component:
These include the Tier-1 suppliers of EGS plant components such as turbine, flash system, boiler, genset units, and others.
Project Developers/EPC Solution Providers:
These are solution plant manufacturers that deploy and manufacture the EGS plants. More often, several government organizations, universities, and plant manufacturers come together to research and develop EGS plants.
The end user includes energy consumers from commercial and industrial sectors. Commercial end users include offices, supermarkets/hypermarkets, government, healthcare, hospitality, transportation, and others. Similarly, industrial end users include oil and gas, food and beverage, automotive, energy and utilities, and others.
Current Trends in Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS)
Horizontally Layered EGS
The EGS concept entails retrieving heat using a subsurface fracture system to inject water through injection wells. The improved geothermal system will grow faster if the inherent permeability of the rock is higher.
Due to small fissures and pore spaces between mineral grains, rocks are permeable. The injected water is warmed by interaction with the rock in naturally existing hydrothermal systems, and it eventually returns to the ground via production reservoirs.
Reservoirs designed to enhance the economics of resources with inadequate water and/or permeability are known as EGS. The conventional EGS consists of a twin vertical well that is simple to construct and run for geothermal energy extraction.
However, there has been an increase in the utilization of horizontally stratified geothermal systems in recent times. Concerning overall heat recovery efficiency, this horizontally stacked improved geothermal system exceeds its twin vertical well equivalent.
Moreover, the horizontally stacked EGS has a higher heat recovery rate and is more cost-effective than the twin vertical well EGS.
Developments Toward Deep EGS
Deep geothermal energy is a clean and sustainable source of thermal and electrical power with the potential to deliver enormous amounts of energy.
Due to these advantages, deep geothermal energy is of critical strategic importance for expanding the energy sector, and numerous countries have already begun utilizing it for heating and electricity.
The true capacity of deep geothermal energy has yet to be achieved due to the intricate geological structure, high temperature, and stress situations in deep geothermal reservoirs.
Prominence of Closed-Loop EGS
The term "deep closed-loop geothermal system" has recently gotten a lot of press attention. Closed-loop geothermal system circulates fluid through a wellbore hundred or even tens of thousands of feet underground before returning to the surface.
No liquid escapes from the borehole at any time. Fluids move beneath the surface in enclosed pipelines and boreholes, collecting heat by conducting and delivering it to the top, where it may be used for a customized mix of heat and power.
Closed-loop geothermal systems have been around for years, but a few companies have recently enhanced them with technology from the oil and gas industry.
Enhanced geothermal system (EGS) can considerably extend geothermal energy usage. Geothermal energy is presently produced from hydrothermal reservoirs and is confined to a few perfect areas in the U.S.
Geothermal energy has the potential to go a long distance. Although that potential has yet to be realized, geothermal energy is expected to play a significant role in the portfolio of renewable energy sources in the upcoming decades.