PR - PIXIL, an innovative project to promote geothermal energy in Spain and France

Barcelona, ​​August 26, 2020. The European Union, through the Interreg VA Program, seeks to promote innovation and competitiveness in the cross-border area between Spain and France. The PIXIL project is boosting geothermal energy, thus providing a valuable opportunity for the region to move towards the energy transition.

PIXIL (Pyrenees Imaging eXperience: an InternationaL network) promotes the development of geothermal energy throughout the trans-Pyrenean territory. Geothermal energy is a natural source of energy that has minimal environmental impact and is free of CO2 emissions. This energy resource uses a constant flow of thermal energy that goes from the subsoil to the surface to, in small scale, reduce costs associated with heating/air conditioning of homes or installations of all kinds or, in larger projects, to produce electrical energy. Geothermal energy works 24 hours a day and therefore provides excellent support for other renewable energy sources that present greater variability, such as photovoltaic or wind. Besides, it is an energy of purely local origin, both due to its use close to the place of obtaining it and due to its non-dependence on technologies or foreign materials.

The PIXIL project proposes to create a cross-border R&D network focused on the development of prospecting geophysical technology or imaging of the subsoil that improves the sectoral competitiveness of the area, values ​​local resources and strengthens professional skills at a transnational level, with significant benefits for the population of the region. Scientific and technological efforts are focused on improving the characterization of the subsoil through geophysical techniques. As imaging has a strong impact in the fields of mining and hydrocarbons, this project aims to bring this technology to geothermal energy. The local population can benefit, through the exploitation of geothermal energy, from a favorable return on investment in the medium or long term and clean and renewable energy.

PIXIL participates and collaborates with professionals belonging to important technological development and research centers such as the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM), the University of Barcelona (UB), on the Spanish side, and RealTimeSeismic (RTS), the Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies du numérique (Inria) and Pole AVENIA,  on the French side. In addition to these institutions, PIXIL has a large group of collaborators who represent the business side of the field, whose mission is to evaluate the results or achievements, guide new developments and, in the future, apply technological advances as part of their portfolio of services and thus improve the competitiveness of the sector.

This innovative project, led by researcher Josep de la Puente, is coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). "Central to the project is the idea that a good characterization of the subsoil can be key to having more reliable and economical geothermal projects. From the project, we believe firmly that through simulation and analysis of geophysical data we can give a boost to the geothermal industry At PIXIL, we focus on the region, but we have international ambition," says de la Puente. 

The project has been 65% co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg VA Spain-France-Andorra Program (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The objective of POCTEFA is to reinforce the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra border area. Its assistance focuses on the development of cross-border economic, social, and environmental activities through joint strategies in favor of sustainable territorial development.

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