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Power generation is a sector requiring great amounts of water: cooling water for energy production accounts in fact, for 45% of total water abstraction in European Union second only to agriculture. MATChING or “Materials & Technologies for Performance Improvement of Cooling Systems performance in Power Plants” is a collaborative project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program.


Closed project



The aim is to reduce the cooling water demand in the energy sector through innovative technological solutions, to be demonstrated in thermal and geothermal power plants. A total of 16 partners all over Europe will contribute to the success of the project and to reach its ambitious goal. The project targets include an overall saving of water withdrawal of 30% in thermal power generation, and a decrease of evaporative losses up to 15% in geothermal sector. The use of advanced and nano-technology based materials will be leveraged to make economically affordable water saving in power plants and pave the way to the market uptake. All technological areas of plant cooling systems will be affected: cooling tower, steam condenser, cooling water circuit and water conditioning. The use of alternative cooling fluids will be investigated to develop advanced hybrid cooling towers for geothermal high temperature power plants, and hybrid cooled binary cycles for low temperature geothermal fields, combining dry/wet cooling, and closed loop groundwater cooling. To increase available effective water supply at reasonable costs, alternative water sources will be exploited: different membrane based technologies will be used to re-cycle or re-use municipal, process and blow down waters. To improve cooling equipment robustness advanced materials and coatings for cooling tower and condensers will be investigated, allowing increasing concentration cycles or directly using aggressive fluids. Demonstration will take place in partner-owned industrial sites, operating pilot plants in intended environment and/or in demo scale, guaranteeing the achievement of TRL 6 for all the technologies. The demonstration activities and the partnership composition ensures the validation of suitable business models and the finalization of business plans, guaranteeing the technological transfer from industry to market, increasing competitiveness at European level, and impacting on water use in power generation sector.

During the workshop "Geothermal Energy: Opportunities and Challenges" organized by TWI. Johan Van Bael presented the results of the MATChING project. He was also interviewed on geothermal energy, the interview is available below.

Johan Van Bael


Johan Van Bael

Project Manager Energy Technology at EnergyVille/VITO; Research line coordinator Thermal Systems at Energyville