Interview: We are sitting right on top of the most affordable and sustainable energy source on earth

4 March 2024

Interview: We are sitting right on top of the most affordable and sustainable energy source on earth

EXCESS brings together 21 partners from eight European countries to showcase how nearly-zero energy buildings in four different European climate zones can be transformed into positive energy buildings (PEBs). Each of these partners brings in their unique insights and expertise into research, policy, industry, markets and innovation linked to energy efficiency in buildings, technologies, and sustainable communities.

We are talking to Adib Kalantar, R&D manger at EXCESS partner MuoviTech group and chair for TASK 38 and TASK39 for the energy storage technology collaboration program of the International Energy Agency. Read on to find out more about geothermal applications with deep boreholes and the role of borehole thermal energy storage in the transition of the European building stock.

What motivated you to take part in the EXCESS project?

For us, the challenge and objective of achieving not only zero energy but positive positive energy buildings (PEBs) through renewable energy combined with energy efficiency and integration technologies was the key motivation to join EXCESS. In the project we are now trying to merge technical concepts for PEBs with new technologies and ways of producing renewable energy directly on site. It was clear to us that geothermal energy will have a crucial role to play in the mix of renewable energy production to achieve PEB status across the four EXCESS demonstration buildings in different Euroepan climate zones. We live right on top of the most affordable, sustainable, and comfortable energy source on earth. We are proud to take part in EXCESS and promote geothermal energy not only inEXCESS but beyond.

Can you share what your role is in achieving PEB status at the EXCESS demo building in Helsinki and what are the next major steps ahead?

I have been working on developing the technical concepts for the drilling and heat exchange related to the deep boreholes used in the Kalasatama PEB to harvest geothermal energy in the urban area in Helsinki, Finland. My work in EXCESS explored deep drilling solutions and borehole collector technology with the aim to transfer the experiences of experimental deep drilling to the built environment in a larger scale. Eventually, we successfully drilled semi-deep boreholes for the Kalasatama PEB, developed and installed integrated collectors with the other energy system solutions of the building. With first inhabitants moved in, we are now monitoring the performance of the systems with an eye to replication in other buildings in Europe.

From your point of view, what are the biggest concerns that need to be addressed for a larger take up of PEB solutions?

The level of legislation!

I am a scientist and not a politician, however, I think the legal framework on PEBs and specifically on the construction permits of deeper boreholes vary a considerably between EUs countries, and sometimes even within a specific country depending on the region. This complicates larger scale replication significantly for interested building stakeholders.

What is the next step for your research and work following EXCESS?

I will continue to explore and research geothermal applications with deep boreholes and borehole thermal energy storage. The concept of borehole thermal energy storage system forsees that the thermal energy from sustainable sources or industrial waste heat is harvested and stored in boreholes during the summertime for use in winter.

If you could give a glimpse into the future, how do you think our buildings and neighbourhoods will look like 30-40 years from now?

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Therefore the use of fossil fuels needs to be reduced in order to decrease the impact on the planet. Globally, we have ambitious goals for sustainable energy, energy efficiency and climate change adaptation and mitigation that will change our built enviroment. An important step for me is to turn buildings from energy consumers and even wasters of energy into highly energy efficient, comfortable local energy producers.

More information about Muovitech and Adib Kalantar

MuoviTech is a global leader of innovative products and systems for geothermal energy, with own production plants in Sweden, Finland, Poland, Holland, England and Norway. MuoviTech’s focus is to save on the Earth's natural resources by developing unique energy and environmental advantage, products and systems with minimal material consumption and maximum life spans.

Adib Kalantar is currently R&D manger in MuoviTech group, a geothermal organization established in 2002. His expertise is in geothermal applications and the writing of standards and codes for various organizations. Adib is member of SIS (Swedish Institute for Standards) and IGSHPA (International Ground Source Heat Pump Association) and has served on CEN (the European Committee for Standardization) technical committee for CEN EN 17522:2023 Design and construction of backfilled and grouted borehole heat exchangers and ANNEX 27. He is currently chair for the TASK 38 and TASK39 for the energy storage technology collaboration program which is part of International Energy Agency. 

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