Renault wants to use water from depths of 4,000 meters to supply heat to an old production plant

Photo of the Renault logo in Bavaria, Germany. The French auto giant says it is targeting carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.

Igor Golovnyov / Suba Photo | Light Rocket | Getty Images

The Renault group Works with French utilities Engy In developing a geothermal project at the automaker’s Douai facility, with the collaboration slated to last 15 years.

In a statement, Renault said on Thursday that a subsidiary of Engie will begin excavation work in Douai — founded in 1970 and focused on bodywork assembly — in late 2023.

The plan is to take in hot water from a depth of 4,000 meters, or more than 13,100 feet.

According to Reno, this water will be used to help meet “the manufacturing process and heating needs of the Douai site from 2025.” The water temperature will be between 130 and 140 degrees Celsius.

“Once implemented, this geothermal technology will provide approximately 40 megawatts continuously,” the company said.

“In the summer, when the need for heat decreases, geothermal energy can be used to produce carbon-neutral electricity,” she added.

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Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo has described the program planned for Doi as “one of the most ambitious decarbonization projects on a European industrial site”.

According to the International Energy Agency, geothermal energy refers to “energy available as heat contained in or discharged from the Earth’s crust” that can be used to produce electricity and provide direct heat.

Elsewhere, the US Department of Energy says that geothermal energy “provides renewable energy around the clock and emits little or no greenhouse gases.”

The news about Renault’s geothermal project with ENGIE was accompanied by details of other projects centered around decarbonization operations at a number of the auto giant’s industrial facilities.

Looking at the bigger picture, Renault says it is targeting carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.

Despite these goals, a senior company executive told CNBC recently that the company saw the internal combustion engine continue to play a critical role in its business over the coming years.

Earlier this month, Renault Group and a Chinese company were announced jelly Signed a non-binding framework agreement to establish a company focused on the development, production and supply of “high efficiency hybrid and ICE engines.” [internal combustion engine] powertrains. “

Speaking to CNBC’s Charlotte Reed, Renault Chief Financial Officer Thierry Bethune sought to explain some of the reasons behind the planned partnership with Geely.

“From our point of view, and according to all the studies we have, there is no scenario in which ICEs and hybrid drives represent less than 40% of the market with a horizon of 2040,” he said. “So it’s actually…a market that’s going to continue to grow.”

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Renault’s continued focus on the internal combustion engine comes at a time when some major economies are looking to move away from vehicles using fossil fuels.

The UK, for example, wants to stop selling diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. From 2035, it will require all cars and vans to be zero-emissions.

The European Union, which the United Kingdom left on January 31, 2020, is pursuing similar goals. In the United States, California bans the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035.

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