Paris’ Orly First European Airport to Use Geothermal Heating

by , 04/09/08

Orly Airport, France, Paris, geothermal heating, geoexchange, Aeroports de Paris, Pierre Graff, travel, energy, renewable energy, orly1.jpg

Orly Airport has recently announced that it plans to provide more than a third of its heating needs via geothermal energy. Slated for completion in 2011, the $17 million dollar project will cut annual CO2 emissions by 7,000 tons from the current level of 20,000 tons. As France’s second busiest airport, Orly aims to be its greenest by launching of a vast program intended to increase its energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2040.

Geothermal heating systems have been around since the times of the Roman Empire, when hot water streams were used to heat buildings and spas. Today’s systems generally employ a geothermal heat pump to regulate heating and cooling via the earth’s fairly constant temperature of around 50°F that is just 5-10 feet underground.

Orly’s plan differs insofar as it will take advantage of a large cache of hot water directly underneath the airport, eliminating the need for a heat pump. The geothermal system will drill two 1,700 meter deep shafts at the perimeter of the airport. Water heated by the earth’s core will be drawn upward via natural pressure, reaching the surface with a temperature of 74°C (165°F). From there it will enter the airport’s heating system and then be cycled back into the earth through the second shaft. The system stands to cycle 250 cubic meters of water per hour, providing for 35% of the airport’s heating needs.

Pierre Graff of Aéroports de Paris stated: “We have the unprecedented luck of having a layer of water beneath our feet that can heat a large part of Orly without CO2 emissions. We are the first airport in Europe to do this.” It’s great to see airports taking such strident steps to help offset their immense carbon footprints! Construction will begin in 2009.

+ Orly Airport


photo via Flickr

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  1. Geothermal Heat Pump March 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Geothermal heat pumps are also known by a variety of other names, including geoexchange, earth-coupled, earth energy or water-source heat pumps.

  2. Sam Sheriff November 23, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Geothermal Energy is used for heating in Europe. Can this energy be used for cooling as well?
    I am a developer in Thailand and our problem is cooling not heating. Any leads will be highly reccomended.
    Sam Sheriff
    Manor Park One Co., Ltd.

  3. Krusi April 14, 2008 at 1:29 am

    I’m not 100% certain, but I believe that the majority of the airports in Iceland are Geothermally powered, including the Keflavik International airport which is only a short distance from the geothermal plant at the Blue Lagoon.

  4. hugo April 10, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Sounds great, this in combination with fuelcel airplanes makes long distance travelling quite green ;-). This is quite a nice technique to draw heat from the earths core for heating purposes but not very affordable for the common household. Instead take a look at heatpump technologies which I’ve seen working from closeby, very clean and affordable. At least back here.

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