Geothermal Energy in Austria
Geothermal energy results from heat stored deep inside the Earth.
Ambient temperatures at the Earth’s surface increase continuously with depth and exceed 4,000° C in the Earth’s core.
The Situation in Austria
In Central Europe, the different thickness of the lithosphere is an essential geothermal parameter, with high crustal thicknesses determine reduced heat flux densities. The lowest heat flow densities in Austria are expected in the Northern Limestone Alps and the Karawanken. Here, the increased crustal thickness as well as the significant convective influence of rainwater penetrating deep into the mountains have negative impact on the regional thermal regime. The highest heat fluxes, equivalent to the best ground thermal conditions are found in the east and southeast of Austria (Burgenland and parts of southeastern Styria). In these regions affects the small crustal thickness - equivalent to a high position of the Earth's mantle - a positive impact on the terrestrial heat field. Extensive deep-water circulation systems cause also in parts of Upper Austria (Innviertel, Hausruckviertel) higher-than-average geothermal conditions.
The heat emanates constantly from the Earth’s interior and has been used for centuries. While thermal springs were used for regenerative purposes in the past, today the extraction of emission-free energy for heating or electricity has become economically feasible.