Renault plans to make use of geothermal vitality and assist the mixed warmth and energy plant

A Renault logo photographed in Bavaria, Germany. The French car giant says it aims to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.

Igor Golovniov/Sopa Pictures | Light Rocket | Getty Images

That Renault group works with the French utility company engineering on the development of a geothermal project at the automaker’s Douai plant, with a 15-year collaboration.

In a statement on Thursday, Renault said a subsidiary of Engie would start drilling in late 2023 at Douai, which was founded in 1970 and focuses on body assembly.

The plan focuses on taking hot water from depths of 4,000 meters, or more than 13,100 feet.

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

“Once implemented, this geothermal technology would deliver nearly 40 MW of power continuously,” the company said.

“In summer, when heat demand is lower, geothermal energy could be used to produce carbon-free electricity,” he added.

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

According to the International Energy Agency, geothermal energy refers to “energy available as heat contained in or emitted from the earth’s crust” that can be used for electricity generation and direct heat generation.

Elsewhere, the US Department of Energy says geothermal energy “provides 24/7 renewable energy and emits little or no greenhouse gases.”

News of Renault’s geothermal project with Engie was accompanied by details of other projects focused on decarbonization operations at a number of the auto giant’s industrial facilities.

Looking at the big picture, Renault aims to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.

Despite those goals, a top executive at the company recently told CNBC that the company still sees the internal combustion engine as a crucial part of its business for years to come.

Earlier this month, the Renault group and the Chinese company were announced Geely had signed a non-binding framework agreement to establish a company focused on the development, production and supply of “hybrid powertrains and highly efficient internal combustion engines”. [internal combustion engine] powertrains.”

Speaking to CNBC’s Charlotte Reed, Renault’s Chief Financial Officer Thierry Pieton tried to explain some of the reasons for the proposed partnership with Geely.

“In our view, and based on all the studies we have, there is no scenario where ICE and hybrid engines account for less than 40% of the market with a horizon to 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 trying to move away from vehicles that use fossil fuels.

The UK, for example, wants to stop the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. It will require all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035.

The European Union, which left Great Britain on January 31, 2020, is pursuing similar goals. In the US, California will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

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