Ambitious large scale geothermal district heating project kicking off in Szeged, Hungary

Date: 09/09/2019

With funding of the European Union, the city of Szeged in Hungary is kicking of the development of an ambitious and large-scale geothermal district heating project aimed at cutting back on use of gas and CO2 emissions.

With the investment of HUF 22 billion (around EUR 67m), with the help of the EU, a geothermal heating system will be developed in several parts of Szeged, thanks to the development the amount of gas used for district heating and carbon dioxide will be halved, said Mayor László Botka (MSZP), as reported by Hungarian publication Portfolio.

The politician said at the event that the project will feature more than 27,000 district heating flats, with 23 heating plants serving an additional 469 institutions. He added that it uses 27 million cubic meters of natural gas and 6.433 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.

In Szeged, the district heating system is the largest emitter, the mayor said. Thanks to the city’s largest environmental investment, the amount of gas used for district heating and its carbon dioxide emissions will be halved in four years – emphasized László Botka.

Balázs Kóbor, Managing Director of Szegedi Távfütö Kft., Describing the details of the investment, said that in the nine heat zones of Szeged, one extraction well and two recharging wells with a depth of 2,000 meters will be drilled, with an average yield of 80 cubic meters. Wells provide 450 to 500,000 GJ of thermal energy per year.

Szeged will become Europe’s second largest geothermal residential district heating system after Reykjavik, the director said. The whole of the recovered thermal water is pressed back, ensuring the system’s sustainability, the expert advised. He added that the geothermal heating system can operate for 60-80 years with proper maintenance.

Tamás Péter, managing director of financial investor Geo Höterm Kft., Said the HUF 22 billion development is being implemented by a consortium of the company, the National Development Program Office Ltd. and the Szegedi District Heating Ltd. EU funding will cover HUF 9.6 billion (EUR 29m) of the cost of the investment. The drilling of a well will take an average of 3 months, and the investment will include laying a 44-kilometer power line and developing 75 heat exchangers at district heating centers, the executive said.

In the first district of heat, Odessa, by mid-November, heating is already provided, with the entire investment ready for the 2022/2023 heating season, the expert advised.

The Group has already developed and operates two geothermal heating systems in downtown Szeged and in Újszeged. The contractor, Hansa-Kontakt Inv. Ltd. started its geothermal well drilling division in 2012. According to publicly available company data, the company’s registered capital is HUF 6.780 billion (EUR 21m), net sales from last year’s sales exceeded HUF 5 billion (EUR 15m), and its after-tax profit was HUF 1.14 billion (EUR 3.5m).