Enhanced Geothermal Systems Market to Witness Notable Growth by 2030

Posted by BIS RSRCH on January 12th, 2022

The renewable energy market (currently dominated by solar energy, wind energy, and hydro energy, and government policies catering to one of these three forms of energy generation) has an exciting addition to its portfolio in the form of geothermal energy. Though the majority of natural heat obtained from the Earth’s crust is currently being not tapped properly, geothermal-based electricity generation is gaining the required momentum. It has been anticipated that in the next half decade, geothermal-based energy generation will occupy a significant share of the renewable portfolio of individual countries.

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Climate change policies and emission reduction targets committed by various countries are the primary drivers for renewable energy generation. Additionally, the incentives provided to the geothermal power plants are further expected to drive the market during the forecast period. Encouragement from all the industrial sectors has resulted in strategic investments in the research and development (R&D) sector of the geothermal power generation industry, while the private investments have quadrupled. The industry’s long-term requirement for a loan owing to the nature of the business is being mitigated through government financing schemes. All these factors are expected to drive the market until 2030.

The enhanced geothermal electricity generation plants are categorized as dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations, and binary cycle power stations. Binary cycle power stations make up almost two-thirds of geothermal energy sources installed currently and are used where the water-dominated geothermal reservoirs with temperatures above 180°C are present. In these high-temperature reservoirs, fluid boils or flashes to vapor as pressure drops in the system. The separated steam from the flash steam plant is sent to a turbine to produce electricity, and the remaining fluid is flashed again twice (double flash plant) or three times (triple flash plant) at progressively lower pressures and temperatures to obtain more steam. It is then sent to the turbine to generate more electricity before finally sending the rest of the fluid back into the reservoir. It is expected that the single flash is going to maintain its position as the major geothermal plant type installations over the forecasted duration.

The global enhanced geothermal systems market is categorized into hydraulic, chemical, thermal, and explosive based on the simulation method used. Out of all the simulation methods, the hydraulic stimulation technique is the most commonly used in EGS plants worldwide, independent of the rock type concerned. The process of hydraulic fracturing of rocks involves the injection of water at very high pressure. Compared with other simulation techniques, hydraulic simulation can easily crack rocks with low pressure and keep the fractures open without requiring a propping agent. Also, it has been observed that hydraulic simulation is the safest technique to create permeability in the rock.

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North America is the largest market for enhanced geothermal systems globally. The U.S. is the primary area driving expansion in the North America enhanced geothermal systems market, owing to rising clean electricity demand and increasing emission-cutting policies. Furthermore, rising demand for cooling and heating systems and increasing expenditures in the development of green building infrastructure will benefit the enhanced geothermal energy industry. The governments of North American countries also have favorable regulations supporting the installation of heat pumps, which is an important unit for setting up enhanced geothermal systems.

In the recent past, product development has been the major activity in this industry. The growth in geothermal and enhanced geothermal systems has made its providers focus on differentiated products. In September 2021, AltaRock Energy, Inc. announced the results of a technical and economic feasibility study on SuperHot Rock (SHR) geothermal systems. The company with Baker Hughes, an energy technology company, and the University of Oklahoma, demonstrated the superior energy density and competitive economics of an enhanced geothermal system resource in high-temperature impermeable rock.

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