Renault Tapping The Heat Of The Earth To Save On Carbon

Geothermal Power To Build Renault EVs And EV Batteries

Geothermal Power To Build Renault EVs And EV Batteries

Renault has teamed up with French renewable energy company Engie to create a geothermal plant at its Douai factory in France. The current contract is for 15 years and will provide both heat and electricity to the plant. Drilling at the site is expected to start by late 2023.

Geothermal energy comes from the heat inside the earth. The ability to extract this kind of energy cost effectively depends on several factors such as geological formations and rock composition. Hot springs are the simplest forms of such energy and have been used for thousands of years to heat homes and water pools.

In the case of the Douai plant, extracting this resource is more difficult. They have to drill down to a depth of 4000 metres and extract geothermal fluids – hot water.

This hot water is expected to be between 130 and 140 degrees Celsius and will be used for industrial heating in the winter and to generate electricity in the summer.

This plant will create around 40MW of capacity, and although it does not sound like much, it is significant because it will run clean energy at minimal cost day in, and day out. And it is but one of Renault’s initiatives toward reaching carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.

Geothermal Lithium Batteries

Another such project is Renault’s agreement with Australian-German geothermal lithium developer Vulcan Energy Resources. This agreement is for an initial period of five years, with commercial delivery set for 2026.

It forms part of Renault’s ambition to sell cars in Europe that were made in Europe and follows the launch of the Renault ElectriCity, the most competitive and efficient factory for producing electric vehicles in Europe.

In terms of the agreement, Renault will purchase between 6000 and 17000 metric tonnes of battery-grade lithium chemicals from Vulcan per year. The advantage of these chemicals is that they will be produced using carbon-free geothermal power, using renewables to make renewables.

Renault Group continues to accelerate its EV strategy to reach the greenest mix in the European market in 2025, with over 65% of electric and electrified vehicles in the sales mix, and up to 90% battery electric vehicles mix in 2030. Thanks to the deal with Vulcan, which will combine geothermal energy and lithium resource to reduce lithium’s high carbon and water footprint on production, Renault Group will save between 300 to 700 kg of CO2 for a 50-kWh battery.

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