Inauguration of first geothermal plant in Lithuania
Feliksas Zinevicius, Alfonsas Bickus, Vita Rasteniene, Povilas Suveizdis, Lithuanian Geothermal Association

Since it first regained its independence in 1990, Lithuania (population 3.5 million, territory 65 300 km2) has been in transition to a free market economy. During the last fourteen years great efforts have been made to lay foundations for the market economy: privatization of companies, liberalization of trade conditions and the prices of almost all products.

Lithuania inherited a powerful energy sector based on foreign primary energy resources – crude oil, natural gas and nuclear fuel – imported from Russia. Lithuania has no transmission lines from or to Western countries.

The territory of Lithuania is in the marginal area of the western part of the Precambrian East European platform. The main tectonic elements in the Precambrian crystalline basement are the Baltic Syncline and its slope, the Masurian-Belarusan Anticline, and the Latvian Saddle.

The western part of Lithuania is characterized by an average depth to the Moho of 40 km, with the depth increasing to 44-47 km in the central part. It was also established that the specified large geoblocks in the structure have a number of deep faults (penetrating as deep as the mantle) with a significant subvertical displacement in the deep strata though the amplitude is insignificant at surface. Increased geothermal parameters are typical in the western part of Lithuania, with a heat flow of about 100 mW/m2.

The first geothermal investigations in Lithuania began in 1987-9. The geothermal potential was estimated for three regional hydrogeothermal complexes: Cambrian (5.1x1018 J), Lower-Middle Devonian (5.0x1018 J) and Middle-Upper Devonian 1.5x1018 J). Petrogeothermal resources were estimated down to 7 km (7x1021 J).

In 1992-4 the Government of Denmark financed the Baltic Geothermal Energy Project (covering Lithuania and Latvia). The geothermal aquifer zones within the Devonian and Cambrian strata were studied in detail. Twelve urban areas (Klaipeda, Palanga, Siauliai, Silale, Silute, Gargzdai, Radviliskis and Joniskis in Lithuania, and Liepaja, Riga, Jurmala and Jelgava in Latvia) were selected with a view to a ranking of preference with regard to a geothermal pilot project. On the basis of this study and other investigations the Klaipeda Geothermal Demonstration Plant (KGDP) was engineered.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the Government of Lithuania and the World Bank (IBRD) (with a loan of $US 5.9 million) have contributed to the establishment of the financial package required for the construction of the plant. The EU PHARE programme and the Global Environmental Facility Trust Fund also granted money for the project. The total budget was $US 19.5 million.

KGDP has two production and two injection wells (KGDP-2P, KGDP-3P, KGDP-1I and KGDP-4I respectively). They are identical in construction, with depths of 1128 m to 1228 m.

The geothermal water is extracted from the Devonian aquifer with submersible pumps in the production wells, passed through heat pumps and returned via injection wells to the same aquifer. Low-temperature geothermal heat is extracted from the geothermal water (38°C) using an absorption heat pump and is transferred to the Klaipeda district heating network. The total installed capacity of KGDP is 41 MWt: 18 MWt of geothermal and 23 MWt from boilers (the drive for the absorption heat pumps). In June 2004 the State Commission confirmed a plant capacity of 35 MWt (geothermal 13.6 MWt).

The configuration of the absorption heat pump comprises an evaporator, an absorber, a condenser and a working fluid generator. The pump uses lithium bromide (LiBr) solution as the heat absorbent working fluid. The absorption heat pumps (4 x 4.5 MWt capacity) are driven by hot water (175oC, 10 bar) from three hot water boilers (16.2 MWt each).

Figure 1: View of KGDP.

In spite of technical problems, the Klaipeda Geothermal Demonstration Plant (Fig. 1) is a reliable heat supplier capable of competing with traditional heat suppliers. The total amount of heat produced by KGDP has grown from 103 000 MWh in 2001 to 215 000 MWh in 2003. (Fig. 2).

In addition, more than 200 systems of ground-source heat pumps have been installed for heating in single family houses (total capacity - more than 3 MWt).

The 6th conference of the Lithuanian Geothermal Association (LGA), convened to celebrate the inauguration of KGDP, was held in Klaipeda on 25-26/11/2004. The conference began on 25 November in the Hotel Klaipeda, which is the biggest and tallest in the old part of the city. A tour (bus trip) to KGDP was organized after the opening of the conference. During the official Inauguration ceremony at KGDP the participants were welcomed on behalf of the President of the International Geothermal Association (IGA), Dr. John Lund. In his absence, IGA Board member Beata Kepinska read out his welcoming address.

Figure 2: Heat production at KGDP.

The technical part of the conference continued on 26 November with 15 papers being presented by authors from 7 countries: Denmark (Allan Mahler, DONG A/S), Iceland (Gudni Axelsson, ISOR), Poland (Beata Kepinska, LMA MEETI), Latvia (Indra Skapare, RTU), Belarus (Vladimir Zui, IGS), Slovenia (Peter Kralj, Gejzir Consulting) and Lithuania. Over 20 papers are available in the 133-page Proceedings distributed to 63 participants of the conference. Special thanks are due to authors who were unable to present their papers in person – Raffaele Cataldi (Italy), Kiril Popovski (Macedonia), Guido Cappetti (Italy), Mikhail Khvorov and Georgyj Zabarnyj (Ukraine).

Participants of the conference were given a city tour which included the Castle at the mouth of the Dane river. Built in 1252, the Castle gave birth to Klaipeda city so, on 1 August 2002, Klaipeda celebrated its 750th anniversary.

Klaipeda, situated on the shore of the Baltic Sea, is the third largest city of Lithuania with more than 200 000 inhabitants. It covers 98.4 km2 and is an ice-free port, the only seaport in Lithuania. The average annual temperature is +8.4°C (January –0.6°C, July +19.4°C).

Cordial thanks are given to the Sponsors: Ministry of Economy; DONG A/S, Denmark; AB "Geonafta"; UAB "Genciu nafta"; AB "Klaipedos energija"; UAB "Sildymo technologiju centras"; UAB "Alropa"; AB "Montuotojas"; UAB "SOMIS".

(from IGA News #59, January - March 2005)

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