Multi-drain geothermal drilling: ENGIE Solutions wins the European Innovation Award

Of the 16 innovations in the running to win the Ruggero Bertani European Geothermal Innovation Award 2021, the European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) has chosen the multi-drain geothermal drilling innovation developed by the Antea Group and ENGIE Solutions. This innovative technology - a first in Europe - has been developed in Vélizy-Villacoublay and opens up the prospect of providing access to geothermal energy in areas such as western Paris where it was previously not feasible


“Multi-drain” drilling, a first in Europe

The principle of the system is that the wellbore comprises three drains, enabling the productive levels to be tapped to a greater extent and maximising the volume drained naturally from the reservoir. The results are largely as expected: whilst enhancing the potential of geothermal layers containing water (termed aquifers), this technique promotes the recovery of water at 65°C and provides over 16 MW of heating energy. This innovative method has enabled the original production capacity of the Vélizy-Villacoublay geothermal site to be doubled to up to 400 m3 per hour.

The innovation opens great prospects for the development of geothermal energy in France, particularly within geographic areas with genuine needs but hitherto unexploitable geothermal potential.


Promising prospects for the development of geothermal energy

The award was presented to the ENGIE Solutions teams in the presence of five other finalist teams on Thursday 24 June. The success of multi-drain drilling has been welcomed by many players working on the energy transition. This project - which represents an overall investment of €25 million - has received support of €3 million from the Île-de-France region as part of the implementation of its regional energy/climate strategy, of €5.95 million from ADEME and €5 million from the town of Vélizy-Villacoublay in its capacity of co-shareholder with ENGIE Solutions in renewable energy production company Véligéo.  

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This is a great honour, and we are proud to see our multi-drain drilling technology recognised with the Ruggero Bertani Innovation Award 2021. Innovating to support the energy transition in cities, industries and businesses in the services sector is core to our DNA and is what we focus on every day. This award is the culmination of work undertaken by our geothermal energy teams. It will encourage us in our mission and strengthen our expertise, and will help us to bring sustainable and ever-more efficient energy solutions to local authorities and residents.

Nicolas Monneyron , Geothermal Energy Director ,  ENGIE Solutions
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This innovation opens up many opportunities for development in the geothermal energy sector. The ease with which it can be replicated in towns throughout Europe will transform a large number of areas with lower geothermal capacity into possible new targets. The technology has huge potential to reduce emissions in the coming years, all the more so when you realise the extent to which geothermal energy is under-exploited at the moment.

Miklos Antics , Chairman of the European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) and a member of the panel