ABU DHABI - ADNOC and the National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) today announced the start of operations at G2COOL, the first district cooling project in the Gulf region to harness geothermal energy.
The landmark plant will further decarbonise how buildings are cooled in Masdar City while diversifying the UAE's energy mix in support of the UAE National Energy Strategy 2050.
The G2COOL plant produces naturally occurring hot water found underground through two geothermal wells. The hot water is fed into absorption cooling technology to produce the chilled water needed by Tabreed for its district cooling activities. The chilled water derived from this source of clean energy accounts for 10% of Masdar City's cooling needs.
The project is enabled by ADNOC's initial $15 billion (AED55 billion) allocation towards low-carbon solutions and will support its decarbonisation plan and net-zero by 2045 ambition.
Musabbeh Al Kaabi, ADNOC Executive Director for Low Carbon Solutions and International Growth, said, "This project is the latest in ADNOC's strategy to develop and deploy technologies that will help our company and country to decarbonise. For the very first time, we have tapped into the abundance of clean underground thermal energy available here in the UAE.
"Early efficiency performance from the G2COOL plant has surpassed our expectations, proving that geothermal energy is a viable way to decarbonise how we cool buildings, which is one of our region's most energy-intensive activities. I look forward to working with partners and pioneers to find fresh ways of harnessing this underground heat to further support ADNOC's accelerated decarbonisation plan and net-zero by 2045 ambition."
The cooling of buildings accounts for up to 70% of the UAE's electricity consumption. District cooling offers a sustainable alternative to traditional cooling methods as it is around 50% more energy efficient in its standard operations. Integrating geothermal energy within district cooling operations can significantly reduce electricity demand for cooling from the grid.
Khaled Al Qubaisi, Tabreed Chairman, said, "As our country welcomes the world for COP28, Tabreed is proud to announce such promising results from the Gulf region's first geothermal energy project. This pioneering pilot project has confirmed that geothermal provides a viable, renewable source of clean energy that can support district cooling across the UAE. Our partnership with ADNOC on geothermal shows what can be achieved through a shared commitment to progress."
The G2COOL plant is located in Masdar City, a sustainable urban community and world-class business free zone and technology hub in Abu Dhabi.
Ahmed Baghoum, CEO of Masdar City, said that cooling more sustainably is one of Masdar City's greatest challenges. Producing the equivalent of 10% of the district cooling needs using geothermal energy is an enormous leap to achieve net-zero.
Building on the success of the G2COOL plant, ADNOC is also working with several companies to maximise the contribution of geothermal energy in the UAE using the latest drilling and power generation technologies.