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Sustainable energy projects

Efficient, decentralised, renewable energy generation that exploits all the available synergies will be one of the main props of security of supply in tomorrow’s world.

Massive efforts in this direction are being made across Europe, and RAG is leading the way in Austria. We have embarked on a raft of innovative projects aimed at eco-friendly and efficient generation of the energy required for oil and gas production and storage, as well as providing decentralised energy services and exploiting geothermal energy resources.

Natural gas vehicles 

RAG’s first self-service natural gas filling station, located at the company’s site in Gampern, Upper Austria (near Vöcklabruck), opened to the public in 2014, and a second station at Krift near Kremsmünster was opened in June 2016. Both are available 24 hours a day. More filling stations will be opened in RAG’s exploration and production areas in the coming years, opening up consumer access to environmentally friendly, affordable natural gas as a fuel for vehicles. As a producer of natural gas and operator of gas storage facilities, RAG can guarantee a crisis-proof supply of fuel at stable prices over the long term. RAG is also leading a research project for underground storage of wind and solar energy (www.underground-sun-storage.at), which aims to provide renewable gas for use in vehicles. Building on the research conducted so far, for the first time the Underground Sun Conversion project will enable production of natural gas directly within a gas reservoir using a microbiological process initiated specifically for this purpose by RAG, and to store it in the same reservoir.

In addition, we offer custom solutions to commercial and industrial enterprises, utilising our extensive experience in plant engineering and gas plant operations, such as works compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations. In 2015, RAG’s first plant for producing liquefied natural gas (LNG) was commissioned. The process involves cooling methane to a very low temperature, so that it is converted into a depressurised liquid state. The volume of the gas shrinks by a factor of 600, but it retains the same amount of energy. LNG is already used in some European countries as a fuel for heavy goods vehicles, and is seen as the fuel of the future due to its many advantages. A significant reduction in CO2 emissions from vehicles is essential to meet the targets set at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. Greater use of CNG and LNG can make this possible.

Gas on the go

Natural gas is frequently required for testing purposes or as emergency supply in a variety of situations that occur in the operation of gas plants and transmission systems. Since gas cannot always be withdrawn from pipelines, RAG has acquired extensive experience in compressing natural gas (methane) to produce CNG, and in transporting CNG. This expertise is also available to our customers, forming part of the portfolio of products and services we offer.

Decentralised geothermal energy supplies

Sustainable use of Austria’s oil and gas resources is RAG’s overriding aim. This includes geothermal after-use of dry or depleted wells. Several geothermal schemes in Austria and Germany have grown out of RAG wells, and other projects are in the pipeline. The 1,200 or so wells that the company has drilled in its lifetime have yielded valuable information on reserves of thermal, curative and drinking water. Wells have been successfully reused for geothermal and spa projects in the municipalities of Geinberg, Obernberg and Weibern in Upper Austria, and Waltersdorf, Blumau and Loipersdorf in Styria.

Geothermal district heating has many advantages. It is climate friendly and efficient, and locks in stable prices for users. It is free from the output swings that plague wind and solar, is decentralised, and has no visual impact because it is transported underground. And short transportation distances keep down system losses – another gain for the environment.

Energy savings through CHP

RAG strives to produce, distribute and use the energy needed by its E&P and gas storage operations as efficiently and sustainably as possible. Since many of our installations require both heat and electricity, combined heat and power (CHP) plants are ideal. These are particularly efficient if any surplus output of either energy form is fed into the public grid. We are focusing on the development of small and medium-sized plants with flexible output that can be quickly ramped up and down to meet current needs, and siting them at locations where maximum use can be made of existing infrastructure. RAG operates CHP plants in Kremsmünster and Strasswalchen. 

Deep geothermal energy for Neukirchen an der Vöckla

RAG has contributed its extensive know-how to a pioneering project in Upper Austria that marks a major step towards integrating conventional and renewable energy production.

The Mühlleiten ML-002 well in the Neukirchen an der Vöckla area, completed in 2009, did not result in a commercial discovery. However, with a downhole temperature of 105°C, the 2,850-metre deep well is an ideal source of geothermal heat – an exceptionally eco-friendly and sustainable energy form because it is always available and output is constant. In 2012 Mühlleiten ML-002 was turned into a deep geothermal well. The system captures geothermal heat in the same way as the shallow borehole heat exchangers used by detached houses. However, the fact that rock temperatures are much higher at a depth of 2,850 metres means that it is far more efficient. The heat in the rock is transported to the surface by treated water. A heat exchanger extracts the energy from the hot water, after which the cooled water is returned to the geothermal reservoir, creating a closed cycle. The produced heat is sent along a one-kilometre underground pipeline link around the edge of the town to Bioenergie Neukirchen, which operates a biomass heating plant and district heating network.

The geothermal energy from the RAG well supplies about 100 homes. The deep borehole heat exchanger in Neukirchen will serve as a model for other RAG projects.


LNG – the fuel of the future

Transportation plays an essential role in a functioning economy. All medium and long term forecasts predict growth in the volume of road traffic, especially heavy goods traffic.

Global, European and national climate protection targets aim at a reduction in emissions produced by vehicles. The use of gas as a fuel can make a major contribution to achieving these targets, since vehicle traffic contributes about 45% of emissions. Numerous EU initiatives are promoting the increased use of natural gas and LNG. In the future, gas produced from renewable sources (biogas and gas generated from wind and solar, using power to gas) might also be used in addition to conventional natural gas. So ready supplies of gas will be available for use as a fuel for the long term.

More Details


Stefan Heitzendorfer
T +43 50 724
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Contact Geothermal Energy
Oliver Friedlaender
T +43 50 724
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