Renault logo photographed in Bavaria, Germany. The French auto giant said it aims to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.
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It Renault Group work with French utilities Engie regarding the development of a geothermal energy project at the automaker’s facility in Douai, with a partnership that will last 15 years.
In a statement, Renault said Thursday its Engie subsidiary would start drilling work on Douai – founded in 1970 and focused on bodywork assembly – by the end of 2023.
The plan centers on extracting hot water from a depth of 4,000 meters, or more than 13,100 feet.
According to Renault, this water will be used to help meet the “industrial processing 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 nearly 40 MW of continuous power,” the company said.
“In summer, when the need for heat is lower, geothermal energy can be used to generate carbon-free electricity,” he added.
Renault Group CEO, Luca de Meo, described the program planned for Douai 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 removed from the earth’s crust” that can be harnessed to generate electricity and provide direct heat.
Elsewhere, the US Department of Energy said geothermal energy “supplies renewable energy around the clock and emits little to no greenhouse gases.”
News of Renault’s geothermal project with Engie is accompanied by details of another project centered around decarbonization operations at 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 top executive at the company recently told CNBC that the company sees the internal combustion engine continuing to play a significant role in its business over the next few years.
Earlier this month, it announced the Renault Group and the Chinese company Good grief has entered into a non-binding framework agreement to establish a company focused on the development, production and supply of “hybrid powertrains and highly efficient ICEs [internal combustion engine] powertrains.”
Speaking to CNBC’s Charlotte Reed, Renault Chief Financial Officer Thierry Pieton sought to explain some of the reasons behind the planned partnership with Geely.
“In our view, and according to all the studies we have, there is no scenario where ICE and hybrid engines represent less than 40% of the market by a 2040 horizon,” he said. “So it’s actually… a market that will continue to grow.”
Renault’s continued focus on internal combustion engines comes at a time when several major economies are looking to move away from vehicles running on fossil fuels.
The UK, for example, wants to phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. From 2035, all new cars and vans must have zero tailpipe emissions.
The European Union, which Britain left on January 31, 2020, is pursuing a similar target. In the United States, California bans the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035.