Geothermal in Kenya, Australia, India, Japan, the Philippines, Germany

This post brings you geothermal headlines from Kenya, Australia, India, Japan, the Philippines, and Germany.


Check out this exciting interactive map of Organic Rankine Cycle units around the globe!

Africa and the Middle East

Kenya – Mombasa County to Generate Electricity from Geothermal Power

The price of electricity in Mombasa County is slated to go down following the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) plans to introduce geothermal energy in the county.
ERC Renewable Energy Director Pavel Omieke stated that the commission is in the process of bringing geothermal energy to the county in order to decrease the cost of electricity.
Omieke explained that Mombasa relies heavily on thermal energy being produced by the thermal plants in Kipevu, which is quite costly.

Speaking during a sensitization workshop in Mombasa on Wednesday, Omieke said the move will lower the amount of power injected into the grid from expensive thermal plants and in totality will lower fuel costs, also reducing the area’s power bills.

“Generation of electricity from thermal power plants is very expensive compared to geothermal that costs about seven to eight shillings. For thermal power plants, we generate about 25 shillings per Kwh. The commission is in the process of bringing geothermal into the region so as to reduce the cost of electricity production,” said Omieke.
Omieke elaborated: “We are constructing the transmission line and at the moment its nearly complete. Once it is done, we will have cheap power that will enable us run less of the Kipevu thermal plants.”

Omike explained that the commission is also in the process of implementing several greener energy generation initiatives in Mombasa like as wind, solar and coal energy in order to ensure that the grid is stable in case one of the energy sources fails.


Asia and the Pacific

Australia – Drilling for New Geothermal Project Begins in Toowoomba

Specialist drilling company Geothermal Industries demonstrated an Australian first in drilling technology in Toowoomba on April 14th.

The new business drilled five 100 m geothermal bore holes and utilized patented turbo pipe design from Sweden at the future site of their new commercial office to establish a geothermal system, prior to start of the facility’s construction next month.

This geothermal system has the turbo pipe design connected creating one continual loop and by filling the pipes with normal tap water and using natural ground energy the enables commercial spaces to have more efficient heating and cooling capabilities.

The bore holes were drilled with a new drill rig and drilling methods from Sweden, designed in part by Geothermal Industries, which made installing the geothermal system more affordable.
Geothermal Industries managing director Nigel de Veth was excited to bring the technology to the region.

“Using this new drilling technology to create a geothermal system allows a building to obtain all of its hot water, under floor slab heating, air heating and cooling from natural ground energy sources,” de Veth commented.

“This new system allows us to decrease electricity consumption by 70 per cent in winter and 50 per cent in summer.”

Once the bore hole is complete and the turbo pipe design is installed, a custom-made cement grouting unit seals the hole, allowing contact from the earth to the turbo pipe design.
After the construction of the building is complete, interested customers will be able to observe the system working through a range of temperature sensors, pressure sensors and energy draw graphs on a screen in the reception area.

The geothermal system has been designed by the nation’s leading supplier and proponent of the technology GeoExchange Australia.

Geothermal Industries has partnered with GeoExchange Australia to deliver a new dimension to drilling processes.

Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise CEO Dr Ben Lyons remarked: “seeing new industry, technology and innovations come to the region is always a positive with Geothermal Industries representing a great good news story for Toowoomba.”


India – Indian Company Ramps Up Geothermal Heating in Country

Living in smaller towns in India where energy and water bottlenecks were typical, 35-year-old Arun Shenoy and 40-year-old Mandar Kaprekar spent their early years dreaming of an energy and water-efficient India. Because non-conventional forms of energy were rarely given enough footing, with coverage usually limited to a few paragraphs or last chapter in engineering textbooks, Arun and Mandar knew their goal went beyond business success. They took on the larger mission of shifting entire ideologies to engender sustainable thinking.

In April 2010, Green India Building Systems and Services (GIBSS) began operations from the living room of an apartment. From a small bootstrapped team to a funded 90-member organization with over 75 large customers and a 40x growth, Shenoy and Kaprekar are definitely heading fast towards what they set out to accomplish.

Shenoy completed his masters in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University in the US with geothermal systems as his area of specialization and following that worked for US geothermal heat pump manufacturer Climatemaster and then with TRANE’s USA and subsequently Indian operations, in 2008. Shenoy moved to India with an entrepreneurial mindset bent upon sensing the scope that geothermal energy held in resolving India’s energy crisis.

At TRANE (India), Shenoy met Kaprekar – a Mumbai University and IIM-B alumnus- who had worked in the building systems industry, geoexchange space and district heating and cooling systems for over 15 years in India, the UAE and the United States. Kaprekar had in addition transitioned from the Middle East to India to cultivate an entrepreneurial venture.
“It is just a sheer fortunate coincidence that the two of us – with such similar visions – met, and were in the same stages of life. We decided to take the GIBSS vision live in February 2009, after gathering collectively over 20 years of intel on geothermal tech,” Shenoy said.

GIBSS promises to reduce users’ electricity bill by half and guarantee that their water bill is zero. This is their joint campaign, and end goal. It is a clean technology company specialized in offering turnkey geothermal air conditioning design and installation. They are headquartered in Mumbai with offices in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Singapore. GIBSS has generated annual savings of over eight million electrical units and reduced over 150 million liters of water consumption for over 400 buildings in India to date.

As the two know, geothermal technology can be applied to any cooling or heating application, be it comfort purposes like air-conditioning or industrial applications. “In comparison to the traditional air conditioning systems, up to 60% energy savings can be achieved through this innovative technology,” explained Shenoy, who is the CEO at GIBSS.

In addition, the technology is also 100-percent water efficient, because it rejects heat via conduction and convection and not through evaporation as is the case in traditional air conditioning system cooling towers, which lose about 10 liters of water per hour to the atmosphere for every ton of air conditioning.

Shenoy explained that the idea of floating GIBSS was to make every building in India a net-zero energy building. He believes that the initial step in this effort is to reduce energy consumption and demand in buildings by a maximum of 60%. Energy efficiency can be achieved through the development and introduction of demand side ultra-efficient technologies like geothermal air conditioning, co-generation systems for hot water and LED/induction technology in lighting. Following that, supply-side solutions like solar can be introduced to help buildings achieve net zero energy.

Of the benefits of geo-exchange technology, Shenoy elaborated: “As per World Wide Fund, if developed for tropical regions such as India, it could reduce national electricity demand by more than 35 percent, national industrial water demand by 30 percent and green house gas emissions by more than 22 million metric tons.”

The geothermal market in India has large potential in the commercial and industrial domain. The geothermal installation base in India is expected to grow at an impressive 300% rate year on year for the following eight to ten years. According to geothermal experts in India, some of the factors that would trigger this growth would be the exceptional commercial viability of the technology with payback under three years, active participation from the Ministry of Renewable and New Energy through the draft National Geothermal Policy launched during REINVEST summit in February 2015, smart city projects planned in India actively exploring geothermal technology, and the more than 300-percent jump in the number of IGSHPA (the apex body for geothermal installations worldwide).

GIBSS is the pioneer of geo-exhange technology in India and took substantial R&D time for a strong launch. The four years invested in developing strategies to adapt the geo-exchange technology for tropical climates like India has resulted in four patent filings in geothermal strategies, design and geothermal vault, and copyrighted ground thermal and hydrological data for 29 cities in India, geothermal vault manufacturing (patent applied) in-house that reduces cycle time on project execution by about 30%, 11 IGSHPA accredited geothermal expert team, and key stakeholder in national geothermal policy discussions with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Ministry of Water resources.

The company’s geo-exchange innovation promises a straightforward commercial payback of 2-3 years. They are also the country’s pioneers of geothermal cooling technology – introduced in 2012 – that is applied to tropical climates all around the world.

To provide some assurance on savings, GIBSS designed a performance bank guarantee and implemented a ‘pay from savings’ model where the customer would not have to pay upfront but pay from the savings that they had guaranteed to them. For their existing technology, which may still be in good working condition, GIBSS provided a buy back solution and routed it to an e-waste management ecosystem. To address service issues in towns like Mohali or Bellary, all spares would be delivered locally to the customer, so that in the rarest possibility of a malfunction, the customer has zero downtime.

Since starting up in 2009, GIBSS has been operating with more than 400 buildings across industrial, institutional and commercial settings like IT/BPOs, five-star hotels, data centers for space cooling applications and industrial plants like pharma, automotive, cement, FMCG for process cooling applications, to help them achieve a net zero-energy building path. It has received the India Innovation Award from the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India and ClimateSolver Award from World Wide Fund for Nature. Their latest achievement is winning an award for their innovations at the Marico Innovation for India Awards 2016.

Last December, the Indian School of Business campus in Mohali won the smartest building in India award. The campus utilizes GIBSS geothermal air conditioning and lighting technology that saves them 30% in electricity bills and also saves 13 million liters of water per year.
In short, GIBSS is only just beginning.


Japan – ElectraTherm Power+ Generator Commissioned in Japan on Geothermal District Heating System

Reno, Nevada – ElectraTherm, a leader in distributed waste heat to power generation, commissioned the Power+ Generator™ 4400 in Beppu, Japan. This is the first Power+ Generator in the country and it utilizes geothermal heat to generate fuel-free, emission-free electricity at the site. Commissioned in March, the Power+ runs off low temperature geothermal steam from a small district heating system. The power is sold to the local utility at an attractive feed-in-tariff rate for renewables. The existing geothermal well requires the temperature of the geothermal resource to be cooled before it can be used for heating. As the Power+ generates power, it also provides the necessary cooling with zero environmental impact or imposition on the onsen’s primary function as a community resource.

ElectraTherm utilizes Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and proprietary technologies to generate up to 110kWe of electricity from low temperature water ranging from 77-122°C. At this site the onsen provides geothermal steam at 110°C. Unlike other renewable sources, geothermal heat is baseload, providing a continuous hot water flow with power generation capabilities 24/7. Instead of expensive cooling equipment to lower the resource to a suitable temperature for heating, the water runs through the Power+ Generator which simultaneously cools the water up to 20°C while producing clean electricity.

“The Power+ Generator not only generates power and profit it also solves a problem – cooling onsen water that is otherwise too hot for human use” said Kazunori Ueda, Project Lead and Director of Sales & Marketing, Sankou Denki. “With Japan’s feed-in-tariff rate for geothermal at 40 Yen/kW (~$.33/kW), we see a strong opportunity for profit at this site and approximately 40 + similar sites in the prefecture of Oita alone – and hundreds more at other districting heating systems and onsens (hot springs) throughout Japan. The minimal impact to the property with a small footprint and quiet sound profile make this a hidden gem for the local community, serving as a resource and providing a fixed profit at a district heating system that has been in operation for many years, and will continue for many more.”

ElectraTherm’s Power+ Generators utilize waste heat on applications such as internal combustion engines, biomass boilers, incinerators, geothermal and also flare to power methane utilization at wastewater treatment plants and oil & gas fields. ElectraTherm’s Power+ fleet of 50+ global installations has exceeded 520,000 hours of run time. A list of reference sites is currently available on the website.

About ElectraTherm, Inc.

ElectraTherm, Inc. is a renewable energy company focused on waste heat to power headquartered in Reno, Nevada. Our machines are modular, robust power generators with an attractive return on investment. For more information on ElectraTherm and its clean energy products, please visit


The Philippines – Filipino DOE Explores Geothermal Potential in Calayan

Officials of the Filipino Department of Energy (DOE) are currently conducting an assessment of the potential geothermal energy source in the Camiguin de Babuyanes Island in the island town.
Engr. Ariel Fronda, chief of the Geothermal Energy Management Division, stated that the Calayan Group of Islands is one among three priority areas of the DOE for its Comprehensive Resource Assessment of the Philippine Low-Enthalpy Geothermal Areas project nationwide.

He named the other two areas as El Nido, Palawan and Camiguin Island in Mindanao.

“Some of our geothermal engineers are now in the island to assess the geothermal energy capacity of the area,” Fronda said.

Based on our team’s initial assessment, Fronda said the area has high potential to support geothermal facilities.

“Our team will further conduct feasibility study to determine its capacity to generate electricity which can be utilized by the community here,” Fronda said.

He added that if the geothermal energy resources in the area are suitable for power generation, the DOE will promote the geothermal resources to investors for geothermal energy exploration, development and utilization.

Mayor Alfonso Llopis expressed gratitude to DOE officials during the advocacy activities conducted in the region for identifying their town as one among the three potential geothermal energy sources in the country.

Llopis said if their area will be developed as geothermal facilities, the whole island will be energized which will bolster its tourism potential.

At present, only two islands of the town, Calayan proper and Camiguin de Babuyanes, have diesel-powered electricity which operates 10-12 hours daily, others do not have access to electricity.



Germany – Vallourec Provides OCTG for a Deep Geothermal Power Project in Bavaria

Vallourec is delivering close to 1,500 tons of seamless OCTG1 to Geothermie Holzkirchen GmbH2 for the geothermal power project at Holzkirchen located in Bavaria, Germany, which is slated to begin operation in 2017.

The majority of the tubes were produced at the Vallourec mills in Mülheim and Düsseldorf. Geothermie Holzkirchen GmbH uses geothermal sources in the Alpine Foreland to produce clean, green energy and heat. “We are happy to have won this order which gives us the opportunity to support the energy transformation in Germany,” commented Managing Director of Vallourec Germany Norbert Keusen.

The project requires the drilling of two wells to a depth of approximately 5,000 meters, the first of which is currently underway. The initial well will bring the geothermal water to the surface at a temperature of 140°C. Following the delivery of the water, a steam generator and heat exchanger will transform the hot liquid to produce electricity and heat. Once cooled, the water will follow its loop back down into the calcareous aquifer, descending through the second well.

The OCTG will be utilized to consolidate the wells; gas-tight and designed to resist harsh conditions – temperatures over 180 °C and external pressures up to 743 bars. “Our tubes can cope with the highest mechanical and thermal loads, because they are made from steels specially developed for the energy industry, and the tube strings have VAM® premium connections,” elaborated Markus Renner, Sales Director OCTG Europe.

Commissioning of the new geothermal plant is scheduled for 2017. It is expected to cover up to 80% of the heating needs for the town of Holzkirchen and will reduce annual CO2 emissions by nearly 10,000 metric tons when compared to the plant’s alternative energy source.

For several years now, deep geothermal power has taken a firm standing in the German states of Bavaria, Brandenburg, and Baden-Württemberg as an environmentally-friendly energy source. Bavaria has invested in geothermal energy now for over a decade and soon it will represent a major share of the Munich energy supply: the city has made a forward-thinking commitment to meet all of its electricity requirements with renewable energy by 2025.


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