On his Summer Tour 2021 this year, State Secretary for the Environment Andre Baumann is visiting exciting places and companies in the state where climate and flood protection and the energy transition are already being put into practice. On his third day, he stopped off today (04.08.) at EnBW's geothermal power plant in Bruchsal in the Karlsruhe district.
Building block for the energy revolution
"Deep geothermal energy is a promising building block for the energy revolution in the state if we want to generate our heat and electricity sustainably in the future," the State Secretary for the Environment emphasized in Bruchsal. EnBW's geothermal power plant in Bruchsal already has a long history, he said. What was conceived as a research plant for electricity generation and operated with funding from EnBW Research & Development now also supplies the nearby area of the Bruchsal police headquarters with heat, with EnBW and Stadtwerke Bruchsal as operators. "The geothermal power plant demonstrates on a daily basis how deep geothermal energy can also be used safely and reliably as a climate-friendly alternative to a fossil fuel heat supply. This is a successful practical test that will hopefully convince many other communities and regions with the appropriate conditions to use deep geothermal energy for their heat and power supply," Baumann said.
Sustainable lithium extraction
The deep water from the geothermal plant in Bruchsal not only provides heat, however, but also has a high lithium content: one liter of water contains around 150 milligrams of lithium. At the current water flow rate, up to 800 metric tons of lithium chloride could thus ideally be extracted in an operating year. A pilot plant is to be set up at the Bruchsal geothermal power plant to extract the lithium dissolved in the deep water. The ambitious joint project "UnLimited" is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with funding of 2.7 million euros for the next four years.
"Lithium is a component of many of our future technologies," said the State Secretary for the Environment. "Unfortunately, the extraction of this resource, which is increasingly in demand, in traditional mining areas is often associated with environmental and social problems." Extracting lithium sustainably in one's own country in the future could not only provide relief for ecosystems worldwide, but possibly also give Baden-Württemberg and its companies a competitive advantage.