The chances of using geothermal energy in Hungary

In Hungary the use of geothermal energy is dealt with by 7 law decrees, 12 orders in council, 10 ministerial acts and 5 directives. Additionally various guides mention the topic of underground water. If one topic has so much regulation one would think the government pays considerable attention to the matter, but it is far from reality. According to experts we are lacking of a consistent thermal law. Although there is no party which wouldn't have brought this issue up during legislation, there haven't been a government in the past 13 years which left their post with legislating a law in connection with it.

Where the government's involvement is insufficient the civil initiatives are usually strong. To prove it, we can mention the foundation of the Hungarian Geothermal Association 8 years ago. Without the existence of this Association scientists, experts, entrepreneurs and geothermal energy users couldn't have reconciliation of their interest. According to representatives of the Association this area is lagging behind not only in the international comparison but we would have much to make up for within the country. Although some new constructive works have been put to place, the opinion of the effects of thermal energy on the environment has worsened in the past 10 years. It contributes to the fact that those thermal wells' -opened in the 60's / 70's -water level has gone down. Then again a process in the opposite direction can be seen as well. In the Southern part of the Great Plain the water level has increased in the majority of the wells, and other places the grade of the water level fall has decreased. This leads to the conclusion that the fall of water level can stop without reducing exploitation. Investors are referring exactly to these experiments when complaining about the authorities demand, that all thermal water used for energetics should be put back into the underground reservoir. This is not regulated by law but that's the practice . only in use of energetics.

Gábor Szita, chairman of the Hungarian Geothermal Association, doesn't dispute the suggestion that there are other environmental reasons why the water should be put back. Waters with high salt content are usually damaging for smaller, temporary surface waters but he denies along with his colleagues the undesired effect the re injection of thermal water might have on big rivers (Tisza, Maros, Rába and Körösök). According to the Associations' professional view, storage of water with high salt content is best by re injecting it but it is significant what type of storage the water gets back to. It is fairly easy to re inject water through karstic or other .gorge rock., although the biggest water reservoirs are through sedimentary rocks which is not yet technically solved. It should be mentioned though that it is inconsistent with the fact that in Hódmezővásárhely a system is in place and it's being run by the local government and the Aquaplus Plc. Since 1998. Here, the thermal water comes from 2000 meters deep and it is supporting geothermal public utilities with hot water. It is then re injected to 1700 meters . through sedimentary rocks . and the millionth m3 water has just been put back according to Mihály Kukunczi, chairman of the Hungarian Thermal Energy Association.

Referring to the members' opinion, research and development is just as important in re injecting thermal water as it is absolutely necessary for the state to take part in it, as development cannot be accomplished without it. The development of this sector has a few obstacles, like the contribution (tax) to be paid for using thermal water has increased over the inflation rate in the last decade. Representatives of the Hungarian Geothermal Association disapprove of the fact that gas prices have not increased with a similar rate so the advance of those who use thermal water for energetics purposes has gradually receded. This contradicts the role the state declares for renewable energy and our duty towards the EU in this field. In the chairman's opinion it would be required that those who work on utilizing thermal water get to know what future prospect the legislative body had in mind. To create an overall and clearer picture the Association is willing to provide expert contribution. In connection with thermal water there is another certain duality. Our country has excellent conditions and according to certain reports, in some respect we can declare ourselves among the front runners in Europe. On the continent Hungary is the second after Ireland in using geothermal energy in its aquaculture. This seemingly positive detail loses its magic as soon as we compare the degree of the two countries' aquaculture, although we are completely aware our country cannot compete with Ireland ( where the geothermal energy appears as steam because of its high temperature), Italy or the far-eastern side of Russia (Kamcsatka) where the working volcanoes provide huge geothermal energy. In Hungary there are 240 wells used to support aquaculture. Wells with temperatures between 30 and 90 C have a typical output water temperature of 62.7 C (when grading wells, output is calculated with average temperature). The utilized temperature yearly average is 1.79 petajoules and the highest possibly utilized temperature is 206.67 MW. The Environmental Protection and Water Management Research Institute (Hungarian acronym: VITUKI) has suggested to the authority to have conduct a survey regarding the water out-take, because all the relevant data currently comes from estimation or self declaration. The reason is that utilization of geothermal energy is not included in the national data of energy balance in contrast with international practice. Although in EU countries all the relevant statistics of all renewable energies and the ground temperature have a significant part.

* 30-39.9 °C - 57 pc, 40-49.9 °C - 22 pc, 50-59.9 °C-24 pc, 60-69.9 °C-38 pc, 70/.79.9 °C - 32 pc, 80-89.9 °C - 30 pc, 90 °C feletti - 30 pc.


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