Renault logo photographed in Bavaria, Germany. The French car giant says it is targeting carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.
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The Renault group works with a French instrument Engie on the development of a geothermal energy project at the carmaker’s plant in Douai, with the collaboration lasting 15 years.
In a statement, Renault said on Thursday that the Engie subsidiary will start drilling at Douai, which was founded in 1970 and focuses on body assembly, by the end of 2023.
The plan focuses 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 “industrial and heating process needs from 2025” at the Douai site. The water temperature will be between 130 and 140 degrees Celsius.
“Once implemented, this geothermal technology would provide nearly 40 MW of power continuously,” the company said.
“In the summer, when the need for heat is lower, geothermal energy could be used to produce carbon-free electricity,” he added.
Groupe Renault CEO Luca de Meo described the program planned for Douai as “one of the most ambitious decarbonisation projects in the European industrial area”.
According to the International Energy Agency, geothermal energy refers to “energy available as heat contained in or released from the earth’s crust” that can be used to generate electricity and provide direct heat.
Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Energy states that geothermal energy “provides renewable energy 24 hours a day and emits little or no greenhouse gases.”
News of Renault’s geothermal project with Engie accompanied details of other projects aimed at decarbonising operations at a number of the car 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 those goals, a top company official recently told CNBC that the company sees the internal combustion engine as one that will continue to play a key role in its business for years to come.
It was announced earlier this month by the Renault group and the Chinese firm Geely signed a non-binding framework agreement to establish a company focused on the development, production and supply of “hybrid powertrains and high-efficiency ICEs”. [internal combustion engine] power units.”
In an interview with CNBC’s Charlotte Reed, Renault CFO Thierry Pieton tried to explain some of the reasons behind the planned partnership with Geely.
“In our opinion 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 2040,” he said. “So it’s actually … a market that’s going to continue to grow.”
Renault’s continued focus on the internal combustion engine comes at a time when some major economies are looking to move away from fossil fuel vehicles.
The UK, for example, wants to stop the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. From 2035, it will require all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions.
The European Union, which the United Kingdom left on January 31, 2020, pursues similar goals. California in the United States bans the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles from 2035.