French energy minister Ségolène Royal this week inaugurated a geothermal plant which is to provide process steam for an industrial site.
The 24 MWth Rittershoffen deep geothermal plant is to supply steam for starch producer Roquette Fréres’ biorefinery in the township of Bienheim.
The plant’s output is expected to cover 75% of Roquette Beinheim’s steam needs, replace around 16,000 tonnes of oil equivalent per year, and reduce the factory’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 39,000 tonnes.
The installation features two 2500 metre-deep wells and 15 km of pipes buried at a depth of 1.5 metres. In operation, water is extracted from the wells at 165°C, the heat is removed, and the water is then injected back into the earth.
The €55 million ($62 million) project was built by a joint venture dubbed ECOGI (Exploitation of Geothermal Heat for Industry), comprising utility Électricité de Strasbourg and power provider Groupe ÉS, with financing from the Caisse des Dépôts bank and France’s environment and energy management agency ADEME.
“The Rittershoffen deep geothermal power plant is the first of its kind in the world, a model of energy transition and environmental strategy, which opens up important new possibilities for regional and national development,” ECOGI said in a statement.