FUEL GEOGRID LAB – Sistemi innovativi e tecnologie ad alta efficienza per la poligenerazione


Funded by: Ministero dell  
Calls: PON 2007-2013
Start date: 2018-01-01  End date: 2022-10-31
Total Budget: EUR 5.104.827,00  INO share of the total budget: EUR 375.566,22
Scientific manager:    and for INO is: Gagliardi Gianluca

Organization/Institution/Company main assignee: SMART POWER SYSTEM – DAT Campania SCARL

other Organization/Institution/Company involved:
A.E.T. di Zaccaro Antonio & C. S.A.S
Aster S.p.A.
Atena scarl
CRdC Nuove Tecnologie Per Le Attività Produttive Scarl (CRDC)
EPR: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (UNINA
Graded s.p.a
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV)
SudGest scarl
Università degli Studi del Sannio (UNISANNIO);
Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (UNIVANVITELLI)
Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope” (UNIPARTHENOPE)

other INO’s people involved:

Abstract: Italy was the first country (1904) who has used geothermal energy for industrial purposes, and is currently
the fifth country in the world for production of electricity from geothermal sources. Today, as a hundred
years ago, this production is still concentrated in a small area of the country between Pisa, Siena and
Grosseto, in the areas of Larderello-Radicondoli-Travale and Monte Amiata, while, despite the considerable
geothermal resources in other areas of the national territory have not been used up to now.
In particular, the Campania region is characterized by numerous geothermal reservoirs liquid-dominant high
energy potential (Campi Flegrei, Ischia, Roccamonfina, Guardia Lombardi, etc.. see Carlino et al., 2012).
However, given the considerable potential established, a consequent use both indirect (electric) and direct
(thermal) in the regional area, excepting sporadic and uncontrolled applications, has never had. This
discrepancy is due, rather than technical issues, considerations of urban planning especially related to the
remarkable development of construction activity in these areas, often abusive, which severely limited the
availability of areas for further drilling and installation of the plants electricity production.
The misinformation about the safety and reliability of industrial installations has also always negatively
oriented public opinion (very sensitive to any negative influences that the construction of these plants can
have on natural phenomena typical of the Campi Flegrei, which microearthquake and the raising of the soil)
against realizations of any type of geothermal power plants.
Today the context is significantly varied with the possible acceptance of construction of these plants by the
local populations thanks to a series of factors:
– A general interest of the public administrations, citizens and economic operators for the exploitation of
renewable energy technologies in general and in particular of geothermal energy with specific reference to
our geographical area. In addition to traditional reasons related to environmental impact reduction and the
reduction of energy dependence from fossil fuels, this growing attention is primarily due to the need to
promote innovative models of development, social and economic based on optimization of resources and
– Can be proposed, as in the case of this project, new technologies that severely limit the environmental
impacts related to the whole “chain” Geothermal (exploration, pumping, use). In addition, proposals may be
modern techniques for monitoring and control of the systems that have allowed the rest of the world an
increasing diffusion of geothermal plants with high social acceptability;
– The legal framework, authorization and tools to support the exploitation of geothermal technologies make it
very profitable investments in this sector, especially in the light of liberalization of energy market and the
very recent legislative innovations that have most effectively liberalized and simplified the investment
geothermal , creating the conditions for a great technical and scientific development of the geothermal
market in Campania;
– Is undergoing a sudden transition from traditional centralized systems of energy conversion systems to
small distributed electricity production and polygeneration, especially to contain the energy loss due to
transport and distribution of energy carriers. In this, as compared to analyzes conducted in the past, the
interest is oriented on a series of small plants near to the users to be served, aimed to satisfy both the
demands that electrical thermal, also responding to an overwhelming need to orient the use of technologies
for exploitation of renewable energy sources for heating, typical application of the geothermal source,
compared to the dizzying rise of alternative electrical energy conversion devices, including photovoltaic.
In Italy, legislation introduced by DL 11.02.2010 n. 22, in particular as regards authorization, combined with
the recent reorganization of the energy market and the continuation of the incentive scheme for renewables,
make it particularly profitable investment in the geothermal sector, thus creating the preconditions for its
great development.
Early findings in this regard were the more than 110 new permits to explore for geothermal resources for
electricity production onshore and offshore that have been presented in the last two years. According to the
Italian Geothermal Union the productive potential of these initiatives may largely exceed about 100 MW of
the targets set for 2020 by the Italian Action Plan for renewable energy, which already expected 170 MW
power increase of installed geothermal in the country and an increase of 1100 GWh for the corresponding
annual production compared to 2010. It can, therefore, conservatively estimate that only in the geothermal
sector in the next decade, could be active investments of around one billion Euros. This renewed interest, due
not only to the aforementioned profitability of the investment, but also the need for a response diversified
and sustainable energy demand, has interesting techno-economic repercussions. In fact, most of the new
permits required relates to production from geothermal medium-enthalpy resources, now made affordable
thanks to the technological development of binary cycle plants, in which the Italian industry has a recognized
expertise in the world. This sector could, unlike other renewable sources for technologies which depend from
abroad, attracting investments both domestic and international with spin-off for economy of our country and
in particular for the Campania region.
Another aspect of geothermal energy, with possible interesting developments of an industrial nature, relates
to the use of energy resources at low enthalpy. This presents growth margins even greater than the
geothermal production, as it is not linked to the presence on the territory of geothermal anomalies. Despite
the favorable conditions of installation of geothermal heat pumps throughout our territory an enviable
starting point for their spread, to date, Italy represents only 1% of the European market. This gap compared
to Europe is mainly due to a lack of knowledge of the technology by all operators in the sector, and the lack
of an appropriate regulatory framework.
The ambitious aim of this project is to try to remove some of the critical issues that have always inhibited the
effective development of geothermal energy due to:
– The widespread perception of negative environmental impacts for geothermal installations and the lack of
reliable tools to assess the environmental sustainability;
– The low yields of geothermal power plants fueled by fluid medium-enthalpy;
– Non-market perception of the potential of geothermal heat probes;
The purpose of the project is, therefore, the development of certain technologies and innovative systems for
the sustainable use of geothermal resources for high, medium and low enthalpy systems with high energy
efficiency and reduced environmental impact.
To achieve this aim the project is divided into different but interrelated development objectives (OR) listed
and briefly described below:
OR.1 Study and design development of local geothermal-electric prototype plants, with nearly zero
environmental impact;
Both the sustainable development of geothermal resources at high and medium enthalpy and the guidelines
in recent DM of 5 July 2012 concerning the production of electricity from renewable resources, outline a
framework which encourages the creation of small plants (<1 MWe) that have low environmental impact. This scenario addresses the industrial research towards the development of binary technologies that, although already widely available on the market, are characterized by low efficiencies of energy conversion and high installation costs. Moreover, these technologies have not yet been validated with high enthalpy geothermal fluids and / or in the presence of high content of salts (such as those that characterize the geothermal area bell) and / or of fractions of high non-condensable gases (such as for example the fluids that characterize the Tuscan geothermal area). The use of "Organic Rankine Cycle" (ORC) requires, therefore, the development of techniques for the treatment of geothermal fluid before it enters the plant in order to be able to use unconventional materials to reduce the cost of investment and maintenance of the generation plant. OR.2 Development of calculation methods for innovative exploration of geothermal surface To improve the detection and evaluation of geothermal resources can provide both the necessary support to the energy planning of the territory, both serve to reduce the cost of drilling. This research objective is, therefore, aimed at the development of computational models for a more effective integration of data from different methods of prospecting surface (magnetotelluric, geoelectric, seismic, geochemistry, hydrogeochemistry, "wireline logging", and petrophysical analysis of samples), in order to obtain a valid model definition of geothermal reservoirs. In particular, OR.2 will analyze inversion methodologies and "cluster analysis". The results verification will be carried out with application in two sample areas of the Campania region: Mondragone (synergy with project VIGOR) and Campi Flegrei (where the plant will the demonstration ORC plant will be designed). OR.3 Study, design and prototype development of sensors for logging and monitoring in the well, even at high temperatures The technologies of logging, measurement and monitoring wells are now mainly designed for use in the oil / hydrocarbons, while prospecting in geothermal wells has some peculiar circumstances and issues. In particular, geothermal wells are generally characterized by high temperatures, for which the traditional technologies can be severely limited. This OR is devoted to the study, design, realization of prototypes and their testing of innovative measurement and monitoring in geothermal wells, based on the use of optical fibers that are resistant to high and very high temperatures (for some types of fiber, up to over 800 ° C). The prototype instrument will be essentially based on two main technologies: DTS / DSS (Distributed Temperature / Strain Sensing) and ’’s Bragg Gratings’. The prototypes of optical fiber sensors developed according to two different technologies will be tested in the wells to be carried out in the project and those already completed as part of the Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project (CFDDP) (De Natale and Troise 2011) by INGV-OV . OR.4 Study, design and testing of innovative tri-generation from geothermal sources on a small scale The main objective of OR.4 consists of the study, feasibility analysis, optimization and therefore the design of small tri-generation plant fueled by geothermal energy with solar energy integration. The systems studied are based on the simultaneous use of different technologies: an absorption chiller single acting directly fed by geothermal energy available and a system of microgeneration with motor ORC at hybrid feeding. For this type of system will be developed suitable dynamic models for the analysis of energy performance, economic and environmental. Will then be investigated specific case studies. The instrument used for these purposes will also be the well-known simulation code TRNSYS. Through the latter will also perform some optimization procedures for the definition of design parameters and control functions using objective-type thermo-economic conditions. In order to experience in the field of the analyzed system and also to validate the simulation models developed will be implemented prototype of an innovative micro-trigeneration plant, serving a consumer hotel, fueled mainly, but not exclusively, through geothermal energy low temperature (about 100 ° C). In the system of micro motor with ORC to hybrid supply the thermal energy necessary for the operation will be provided through the same geothermal source used to supply the said refrigerating machine: for this purpose, we will pursue the optimal use of the resource, employing for ORC supply both the intermediate fluid at about 100 ° C coming straight from geothermal well, both the output from the generator of the absorption machine, available at a temperature still higher than 75-80 ° C, and therefore useful for the preheating of the working fluid of the ORC system. During the day, an additional thermal input to the ORC will be achieved through a solar field made up of manifolds with high efficiency, which will increase the maximum temperature of the ORC cycle in comparison with the case of geothermal power, using the only source, and to improve consequently performance. All the waste heat of the process (desuperheating heat and condensation of the ORC cycle, and energy associated with the content of the residual enthalpy geothermal fluids used) will be usefully employed, depending on the energy requirements of the users. In this way you can further increase the thermodynamic efficiency of the overall system, with the objective of maintaining unchanged, at least in quantitative terms, the overall availability of thermal energy for the user of the cogeneration system compared to the case of direct use of the source geothermal energy. OR.5 Development and optimization of innovative systems for the sustainable use of low-enthalpy geothermal energy embedded in the foundations and its integration with conditioning plant. Among the main limitations of the systems with heat pumps coupled with the ground (ground coupled heat pumps) are certainly to consider the high cost of digging/drilling associated with the installation of the probes geo-exchange and the limited availability of space within of urban centers, where the demand for space cooling is naturally concentrated, and the benefits arising from the use of these systems would be greater. There are some studies of applications of geothermal probes in piles, which relate few experimental results addressed to show mainly its feasibility. However, these few studies in scientific literature are often limited to situations where the utilities are predominantly thermal heating, with consequent problems of regeneration of the soil. Despite the recognized energy and environmental benefits of geothermal heat pump systems coupled with environmental conditioning systems, significant difficulties related to their spread within the common practice, due to lack of adequate design tools and proven field experience that enables them to validate the benefits calculated in the design phase. There are few applications that have been used foundations other than energy piles, such as tunnels or underground bulkheads in support of the excavations. The industrial interest of the companies involved in this project is to acquire advanced tools and reliable design of foundations energy, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of their integration with systems for space cooling, also certifying their performance. OR.6 analysis of the social-economic-environmental impacts This objective aims at creating an informative overview of the impact of the project both at social level (with particular attention to the environmental impacts of the geothermal applications) and economic level, highlighting the local consequences and the businesses activities which will have a greater impact at international level.