Daimler Truck, EnBW, and the City of Wörth am Rhein in Germany have established a collaborative entity named WärmeWerk Wörth, following the approval of the town council in July of this year.

This joint venture has a primary objective to explore the potential of a climate-neutral energy supply for both the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth and the City of Wörth am Rhein. The main focus of this endeavour is to assess the viability of harnessing geothermal energy and, if the findings prove favourable, to construct and manage a geothermal facility for heat generation at the Wörth site.

Furthermore, a minimum of 10% of the surplus geothermal heat will be allocated to support the existing municipal district heating networks in the City of Wörth am Rhein. It’s essential to note that there are currently no plans in place for electricity generation as part of this project. Additionally, this scientifically monitored initiative aims to provide valuable insights into the advancement and utilisation of geothermal energy as a sustainable energy source.

The trio of partners comprises Daimler Truck, the largest employer in the southern Palatinate region, EnBW, a prominent energy company in Germany with extensive experience in geothermal energy, and the City of Wörth am Rhein, a municipality known for its innovative city administration dedicated to public services.

Deep geothermal energy plays a crucial role in the quest for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional energy generation methods. The geological characteristics of the Upper Rhine Plain, where the City of Wörth am Rhein is situated, offer favourable conditions for the sustainable extraction of geothermal heat.

The primary objective of this joint venture is to thoroughly assess the region’s suitability for the development of geothermal energy. This involves a meticulous examination of local and geological factors, in collaboration with independent consultants and recognized experts. Once this evaluation is complete, the next step will be to pinpoint the most suitable location for drilling a geothermal well. Following a successful drilling process and obtaining the necessary federal funding approvals, the construction and activation of a geothermal plant on-site will be planned and executed.

WärmeWerk Wörth managing director Thomas Neckenich said: “Heat generation through geothermal energy offers us the opportunity, as a production site, to use a virtually CO2-free energy source in the direct vicinity for sustainable production.

“Our two partners bring with them the relevant expertise in geothermal heat and energy supply. For the general public and our employees, education and transparency over the entire course of the process is the top priority.”

A primary focus for the partners involved is to ensure that they provide expert, comprehensive, and transparent information to engage citizens at every stage of the project. To achieve this, they have planned a diverse range of participation methods for the community. This includes the establishment of a central information platform on the internet, conducting face-to-face dialogues with the general public, and setting up information booths at key locations, including the Mercedes-Benz Trucks plant itself.

The objective is to guide the residents of the southern Palatinate region throughout the project’s development with scientifically grounded information and ample opportunities for them to voice their questions and concerns. A central goal for all project partners is to launch a transparent and dialogue-oriented awareness campaign about geothermal energy aimed at the public and the neighbouring municipalities as early as possible.

As for the project timeline, the current plan involves selecting a suitable site between 2024 and 2025. Subsequently, testing and development are anticipated to take place from 2025 to 2027. If the requested federal funding is approved, construction of the geothermal heating plant and its connection to the heating network could commence from 2027 onwards. Based on the current status, commissioning is expected to occur in 2028.