Geothermal Energy in Congo Brazzaville

  • The Republic of Congo on the equator is covered 60% by forests and the rest by savannah. A population of ~5.6 million has an urgent need for improved living conditions, clean water and better sanitation, education, and economic growth. But these SDG’s need increased electrification to help address Energy Poverty. There are hydrocarbons and mining developments. Clean Gas power generation needs to be expanded to help but there is also an opportunity to develop clean, persistent, environmentally sustainable Geothermal Energy;
  • The underlying Archaean Congo Craton is surrounded by Proterozoic orogenetic provinces, called “mobile belts”, which are interspersed by “greenstone belts” with extensive mineralisation. Hydrothermal mineralisation has deposited iron, manganese, copper, nickel-cobalt, and gold. A 1400km long orogen running from Gabon to Angola is called the West Congo (Mayombe) fold belt. This hot orogenic belt had significant igneous activity with higher crustal heat flow with underlying rift structures and faulting, both providing pathways for heat to the surface (e.g., high Heat Flow Density data has been measured). Along the alluvial plain coastal zone, sedimentary depth to basement thins approaching the Mayombe intrusive features and there are numerous oil and gas wells in this onshore area, some with high geothermal gradients. This is a good area for geothermal exploration;
  • Further data collection and field work is required to better identify these thermal resources, but initial reviews indicate that there are likely development opportunities in this orogenic belt able to be developed with low and medium enthalpy Binary ORC power generation solutions. Good geoscience tools are available to help incrementally explore and de-risk the areas of potentially suitable heat energy sources before more expensive drilling is required;
  • Geothermal Energy could be a domestic source of economically affordable electricity to help mitigate Energy Poverty whilst replacing other energy sources with high carbon footprints.

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