“The Regional Director for Science and Technology stressed in Ribeira Grande that the Azores are “one of the world’s most exploitable geothermal resources in the world,” along with countries such as Iceland, New Zealand and Japan or the United States. According to him, it is necessary to harness the Region’s potential in this area “to generate knowledge and wealth.”
Bruno Pacheco spoke on the sidelines of a field trip to the European project designated as HEATSTORE – High Temperature Underground Thermal Energy Storage, which has established a partnership with IVAR – Research Institute for Volcanology and Risk Assessment of the University of the Azores.
Funded by GEOTHERMICA ERA-NET, this project aims to reduce the cost and risks of underground thermal energy storage as well as improve the performance of associated technologies. In this context, the Azores are being used as a study site.
According to the Regional Director, this project is “another example of a commitment that the Government of the Azores has been making to the diversification of funding sources for areas not aligned with RIS3 (Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation), such as the case of energy.”
“We have found in the ERA-NET typologies a way to fit our research teams, as is the case of IVAR [in international consortia],” the government official said, noting that this research team from the Azores is promoting HEATSTORE in conjunction other teams from nine countries.
According to Bruno Pacheco, this project, financed by the Regional Fund for Science and Technology in the amount of 100 thousand Euros, is a good example of how “integration in consortia of wider scope is one of the steps to gain critical mass as well as to identify the areas that may be improved and the areas where we are really good.”
The Regional Director pointed out that the Azorean Government, through various ERA-NET mechanisms, has allocated more than 800 thousand euros to fund “research projects outside RIS3, covering areas such as geothermal power, neurodegenerative diseases and biotechnology.”
In this context, the Regional Director stated that the Azorean Government is “available to identify, together with the entities of the Azores Scientific and Technological System, possible funding sources and in what way the Region may position itself to have access to these funding sources.”
Bruno Pacheco also pointed out that there is an increasing involvement of companies in research projects, pointing out, as example EDA Renováveis, “an associated partner of HEATSTORE that provides data to IVAR and an eventual user of the project outputs.”
Coordinated by the Netherlands, HEATSTORE has 24 partners from nine countries, with Portugal being represented by the IVAR research team of the University of the Azores.