Renault plans to use geothermal energy and help with the heating plant

The Renault logo was drawn in Bavaria, Germany. The French car giant says it aims to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.

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The Renault Group Works with French utility Angie on the development of a geothermal energy project at the carmaker’s Douai facility, the partnership will last 15 years.

Renault said in a statement on Thursday that the Engie subsidiary will start drilling in late 2023 at Douai, which was founded in 1970 and focuses on body assembly.

The plan centers around extracting hot water from depths of more than 4,000 meters, or 13,100 feet.

According to Renault, this water will be used to help meet the Douai site’s “industrial and thermal process needs from 2025.” The water temperature will be between 130-140 degrees Celsius.

“Once implemented, this geothermal technology will continuously provide approximately 40 MW of power,” the company said.

“In summer, when there is less demand for heat, geothermal energy can be used to generate carbon-free electricity,” he said.

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Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo described the program planned for Douai as “one of the most ambitious decarbonisation projects in European industry”.

According to the International Energy Agency, geothermal energy refers to “energy available as heat in or released from the earth’s crust” that can be used to generate electricity and provide direct heat.

Elsewhere, the US Department of Energy states that geothermal energy “provides renewable energy around the clock and emits little or no greenhouse gases.”

News of Renault’s geothermal project with Engie was accompanied by details of other projects centered around the car giant’s decarbonisation operations at several industrial sites.

Looking at the bigger picture, Renault says it aims to be carbon neutral in Europe by 2040 and globally by 2050.

Despite those goals, a senior executive at the firm recently told CNBC that the firm sees the internal combustion engine continuing to play an important role in its business for years to come.

Renault Group and the Chinese firm were announced earlier this month Geely “had signed a non-binding framework agreement to create a company focused on the development, production and supply of hybrid power units and high-efficiency ICE. [internal combustion engine] power units.”

Speaking to CNBC’s Charlotte Reed, Renault’s Chief Financial Officer Thierry Pieton tried to explain some of the reasons behind the planned partnership with Geely.

“In our opinion and according to all the research we have, there is no scenario where ICE and hybrid engines account for less than 40% of the market by 2040,” he said. “So it’s actually … a market that’s going to continue to grow.”

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Renault’s continued focus on the internal combustion engine comes at a time when some major economies are looking to move away from cars that use fossil fuels.

For example, the UK wants to stop selling new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. This will require all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions from 2035.

The European Union, from which Great Britain left on January 31, 2020, is pursuing similar goals. In the US, California will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035.