ABB is major supplier for the biggest geothermal power plant in Hungary and Central Europe

2013-01-21 - Renewable energy will empower Miskolc city’s district heating system, reducing greenhouse gas emission by 40 percent compared with the previous gas-based heating system. The geothermal project produces 660,000-1,000,000 gigajoules (GJ) of energy annually providing nearly 32,000 households and 1,000 public amenities (university, swimming pool, etc.) with heat.

By ABB Communications

Operation in Autumn 2012

Geothermal energy is becoming an increasingly attractive energy source. Although it has been used for bathing since the Stone Age and for heating since the Roman times, advances in technology have now increased the scope and feasibility of geothermal energy use around the world.

All Saints Church Miskolc (Image courtesy of Janos Korom)
One recent example is found in the city of Miskolc in northeastern Hungary, a regional center with a population of around 170,000 inhabitants. The geothermal potential in the region has been long known, with thermal baths fed by water from a hot spring at temperatures between 27 and 31 degree Celsius. In recent years, prompted by positive results from extensive geophysical and geological surveys, PannErgy, a Hungarian geothermal power company in partnership with Mannvit, an Icelandic geothermal engineering company, has drilled several thousand meters beneath the earth to exploit geothermal resources for the city’s district heating system.

In September 2010, results from the first well exceeded expectations, identifying it as one of the best low temperature wells in mainland Europe with hot water at 100°C available at an expected output of 70 to 90 liters per second. Five geothermal wells have now been established in the surrounding area of Miskolc city, which is the largest geothermal investment in the region. Link to animation of geothermal plant.

To develop a district heating system for the city, ABB has provided a wide variety of products and solutions, including 4 kilowatt (kW) to 355 kW motors and drive applications, which are used to pump the hot water, not only at the pump stations, but also at booster pumps circulating hot water throughout the pipeline network. Dry-type transformers and medium-voltage switchgear have been installed at pump stations and at the receiving station of the geothermal power plant. Low-voltage main distribution boards and sub-distribution boards have also been installed at the plant along with a process control system, which includes a distributed control system, electromagnetic flow meters along with pressure and temperature field instruments. With low winter temperatures in the city recorded at -35 °C, the inhabitants of Miskolc will be comforted by the knowledge that they now have a new supply of clean sustainable heat energy for their city.

Thermal cave baths Miskolc (Image courtesy of Danny Fowler)
In the future ABB hopes to work closely with PannErgy to help them achieve their goal to generate large volumes of heat energy and electric power through the exploitation of further Hungarian geothermal resources across the country. Their aim is to produce a minimum 60 - 70 MW capacity providing about 0.8 percent of Hungary’s electricity and to heat at least 70,000 households (3.5 million GJ) with geothermal energy using the existing district heating systems of Hungarian cities and towns.

Besides being cost effective, using thermal water as a renewable source of energy will save the city of Miskolc 33,000 tons of CO2 emission each year. At the national level, Hungary aims to obtain 14.65 percent* of its energy from renewable sources, which means by 2020 the total amount of energy gained from geothermal energy is expected to reach 12,000,000 GJ. To date the geothermal project in Miskolc comprises about 10 percent of that target.


*Renewables 2012. Global Status Report.


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    2310 meter deep drill in Mály (in the surrounding area of Miskolc city) capable of delivering 70-90 liters per second thermal water

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