25 perspective areas of geothermal energy, with water temperature of up to 150oC, are equally distributed across Slovakia. Although geothermal water represents an important Slovak natural capital, less than 10% of this potential is currently used. Geothermal water is exploited primarily for recreational purposes in Spas and thermal swimming pools, but its utilisation can be much broader: use in agriculture, fish farming, heating, and many more. The site for my project lies on the edge of Humensky Chrbat- one of the perspective geothermal areas. According to hydrogeological prospecting done in 2007 by RNDr. Igor Bajo, the collector of geothermal water around proposed site is created by the trias layer situated around 2550-3000 m below the ground, and expected temperature of this water is 100oC. It is accessed, that alike mineral springs located in the area, geothermal water also has a strong ‘salty’ character. This water quality would be explained also by the presence of rock salt deposit, which is probably further dissolved with the ground water.
I had a meeting with Mr. Peter Malík, RNDr., CSc., the head of the Department of Hydrogeology and Geothermal energy at the State Geological Institute of Dionýz Štúr in Bratislava, with whom I discussed the possibility of using geothermal and mineral water within my project.
-Salt springs which existed on the outskirt of the village vanished during the dewatering works done in its surrounding. It is therefore only estimated, that salt water is still there and further prospecting and excavation would need to be done. (although there is still a mineral spring in a neighbouring village, which was originally used in the healing Spa.)
-Geothermal borehole is a huge investment (2mil€), and the result might be in some cases negative. It takes about one year to find the most suitable site for the borehole. An investor is covering all the fees and there are no national grants supporting research and use of geothermal energy.
Moving the site to a neighbouring village Hlinne
The project would develop around mineral spring in Hlinne, what is the location of a former Spa, destroyed at the beginning of the 20th century. There would be a possibility of extending the Spa and the use of geothermal energy in the future. But even in this case, geological prospecting would need to be done.
The site remains in the municipality Soľ.
In this case, the project would be treated as hypothetical and suppose, that the borehole would be drilled and highly mineral thermal water would be found. The Spa would develop around thermal water found. Mr. Malík sees this option as a good idea for my project. The project would be built upon the argument resulting from the geological work being done by Mr. Bajo and development plans for the region, where the municipality Soľ is the one trying to use the brine springs. Moreover, there is a strong symbolic and historic link between the salt, brine springs and the municipality.
I see my project rather as a set of steps which should be followed in order to establish a Spa, not just at my site, but anywhere around mineral springs (almost 1800 in Slovakia!).
Timeline for geological works :
- 6 months – 1 year for geological prospecting (measurements, radioactivity, soil conditions,…) Suitable locations for a drilling site are proposed after the geological prospecting is done.
Rule: The plot of land assigned to a geothermal borehole must be in the ownership of an investor, or the municipality, or the state. This plot should be roughly 100x100m wide to enable the drilling machinery to be built. The machinery is in operation 24h per day and due to its increased noise level, it shouldn’t be situated too close to the residential areas.
- 6 months – 1 year for drilling works. Water must be monitored for another 3 weeks to specify its mineralisation, flow, quantity and other characteristics
- Project of a geothermal station