Geothermal heat can play an important role in energy transition and it is expected that in 2050, geothermal energy will provide a quarter of the heat demand in the Netherlands. To speed up this development, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, Energy Management of the Netherlands, Province of South Holland, Municipality of Rijswijk and TNO have established the RCSG.
The RCSG is located in Shell's former borehole research and testing centre in Rijswijk. Companies that are active in the field of geothermal heat can make use of the laboratory.
"Geothermal energy can make an important contribution to making our heat supply more sustainable," said Sandor Gaastra, director-general at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. "The geothermal industry is a relatively young sector that is developing strongly. An easily accessible opportunity to experiment with new techniques and materials offers the opportunity to significantly accelerate that development."
The centre is accessible to companies that want to experiment with (or test) new drilling techniques and materials, for geothermal heat or other sustainable applications. It provides access to modern facilities that they would otherwise be unable to find or have difficulty using.
Twenty installations that cover the entire spectrum of underground drilling are available in the centre. There is a large drilling rig above an almost 400m deep well, in which new materials and techniques can be tested. There are 300 and 400t hydraulic presses, pressure vessels up to 1,000-bar and piping systems for pumping and testing liquids. Underground conditions can be simulated to determine how materials and components behave at kilometres depth under high pressure or at high temperatures.
"The sustainable use of the subsurface has been on TNO's research agenda for years. This concerns the extraction of low- and high-temperature heat from the subsurface, the temporary storage of energy in the subsurface and the storage of CO2 during the phasing out of the fossil energy system. The RCSG makes it possible for companies and educational institutions working in close cooperation through the development of new technology to take major steps in the transition to a sustainable energy system," said Ton de Jong, director TNO Energy Transition.
Armand van de Laar, councillor of the Municipality of Rijswijk, added: "In addition to the contribution to the energy transition, this project also provides great added value for the development of the area. This investment provides new activity and dynamics in the Plaspoelpolder. Rijswijk welcomes all visitors and customers of the new test centre. Other companies that want to make an impact on a sustainable world and are looking for space for office, production or laboratory can also go to the Plaspoelpolder. Innovation and an attractive business climate go hand in hand here."
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