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Conference on Geothermal Energy

New Geothermal Energy for Architecture and the Challenge of Climate Change

The conference “New Geothermal Energy for Architecture and the Challenge of Climate Change” took place on Friday, 24th June in Rome, at the “House of Architecture” (Piazza Manfredo Fanti, 47 - Rome). Geothermal energy is a "resource of the heat of the earth", which is ecological, available and widespread in Italy. New technologies allow us to use low and medium enthalpy geothermal energy with small-scale systems that can be integrated in buildings. These new geothermal plants can offer a decisive contribution to the energy revolution linked to urban regeneration, as well as to the response to the recent commitments of Paris COP21 for the mitigation of climate change.

From the first onset of geothermal energy plants in 1904, when Italian research reached global leadership, much time has passed. At present, the latest scientific, social and legislative developments open a new promising phase in this field. Today National and Regional laws, together with scientific investigations, provide an appropriate knowledge of its energy potential, distribution, differentiation in various geographical, thermal and hydrogeological contexts. In particular, it appears evident that in some areas, due to the local hydrogeological structure, rainwater infiltration, permeable and impermeable clastic deposits, tectonic discontinuities, a widespread circuit of hydrothermal structures is created. The latter, classified as medium and low enthalpy geothermal sources, have a strong potential for direct energy uses.

Moreover, some cities, such as Turin, Milan, Bologna, Ferrara, Verona, Prato etc., are built on very rich aquifers which, being placed at a limited depth and having a relevant temperature, make up an interesting thermal potential within the delicate hydrogeological balance due to current climate change. The future parameters for the use of this important resource are now available, thanks to two relevant initiatives: the “Chart of the New Good Geothermal Energy of Abbadia S. Salvatore”, recently signed by a number of municipalities in Tuscany, and the recent initiative of the Lazio Region, which approved, in April 2016, an "innovative law" relating to small local uses of geothermal energy, thanks to the contribution of Eurosolar Italy and the Chamber of Geologists of the Lazio Region.

The Conference, organized by Eurosolar Italy with the Chamber of Architects of Rome, in cooperation with GIGA, FREE and the Chamber of Geologists of Lazio Region, has the patronage of the Lazio Region, FIDAF, UGI, SIGEA, University of Florence - DST. Its aim was to communicate the territorial and scientific surveys developed in the last years, as well as the progresses in the research concerning new sustainable technologies for the use of this type of geothermal energy, ensuring a serious environmental compatibility.

In the presence of many professionals and experts in the field, the Conference was opened by Alessandro Ridolfi, President of the Chamber of Architects of Rome, Cristiana Avenali, Counsellor of the Lazio Region; Fabrizio Tondi, Mayor of Abbadia S. Salvatore. Three sessions, rich of contributions, followed this opening: "Geothermal Energy: current status and outlooks", with Francesca Sartogo (Eurosolar Italy), Eliana Cangelli (Sapienza University of Rome - PDTA), Guido Giordano (UGI - Italian Geothermal Union), Enrico Pandeli (University of Florence - DST); the Italian ceremony of the European Solar Prize 2015; "Geothermal Energy: technological innovation, research and experimentation", with Fabio Roggiolani (GIGA/FREE), Giuseppe Di Natale (INGV, Naples) and Morten Petersen (Eurosolar Denmark). Conference’s coordination and conclusions by Francesca Sartogo and Sergio Ferraris, Director of "QualEnergia".

Text written and provided by Francesca Sartogo