Why do we need underground heat storage?

In winter, we need a lot of heat, while in summer, we need almost no heat to warm our buildings.

However, low-carbon heat sources such as deep geothermal wells produce a steady supply of heat throughout the year. Other heat sources, such as residual heat from data centres and industry, also result in a surplus of heat in summer that is not being used.

So, there is a high heat demand in winter, while we produce heat that is not used in summer. We call this the seasonal mismatch in heat supply and demand.

seasonal mismatch between heat demand and heat supply in winter and summer

💡 Underground heat storage is a solution for this problem: we can store the leftover heat underground during the summer and extract it again when we need it in winter.

Doing this is better for the environment: we waste less heat and need fewer heat sources in winter.

It also makes economic sense. Storing heat can be more cost-effective than creating large production capacity that is needed for only a few cold days a year. And it enables for example a geothermal well to produce steadily throughout the year, so it does not need to be idle in summer.

The energy system will also become more resilient: if a heat source is unavailable (for example due to maintenance), the stored heat can be used as a substitute.

PUSH-IT will develop underground heat storage at six sites across Europe.

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PUSH-IT is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101096566.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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