Today’s post (17) Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a country rich in mineral resources, but challenged to have enough energy to capture more value by processing these minerals prior to export. The population has almost no access to electrification and Energy Poverty makes it difficult to achieve any Sustainable Development Goals. There are opportunities to develop Geothermal Energy to help meet these challenges.
Coming soon: (18) Egypt; (19) Equatorial Guinea; (20) Gabon; (21) Liberia; (22) Mauritania; (23) Senegal, (24) Sudan, and (25) South Sudan. Still working on the remaining African countries.
A more resilient Energy Mix could make good use of the domestically available, economic, environmentally sustainable, dispatchable baseload of Geothermal Energy.
- The intracratonic Congo Basin lies beneath much of the Democratic Republic of Congo, surrounded by Proterozoic orogenic belts on the eastern side and a portion of the West Congolian belt on the west. The Western Branch of the East African Rift runs along the east side of the country and the Virunga Volcanic Province here is the most active geothermal area (with 8 main volcanic structures, 2 highly active here with periodic eruptions, lava flows, seismicity, and heat flux) from deep magmatic sources;
- DRC has substantial mineral resources including cobalt, copper, diamonds, and gold. About 98% of DRC’s mineral resources are exported unprocessed and substantial value would be captured if processed prior to export, but additional domestic energy would be required. Substantial Energy Poverty (only ~6% have access to electricity) exists that adversely affects living standards and hinders access to clean water (only ~26% have), better sanitation, education (only ~18% advance to secondary), and commercial economic development;
- Surface manifestations can help identify Geothermal Energy areas, especially upper magmatic systems able to be accessed with reasonable drill depth Geothermal wells;
- Clean, environmentally sustainable renewable Geothermal Energy would be possible
- thanks to modern, 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;
- Very attractive Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is commercially feasible for some developments to help improve electrification, reduce reliance on hydropower plants (some of which have cost, construction, maintenance, and drought risks), reduce energy poverty, and increase grid resilience for the DRC.
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