Every form of energy that uses the heat from the Earth's crust falls under geothermal energy. It may be extracted both directly with the use of natural outflows or with the aid of specially injected fluid carriers such as water and steam.
In the field of geothermal RSE have conducted thorough research aimed at verifying the state-of the art of the distribution of the resource in Italy with reference first to the high enthalpy and to the plants operated and managed by ENEL, the main Italian producer of electricity; they are found mainly in Tuscany and northern Lazio. In this area a classification of national geothermal resources has been carried out highlighting even the deep hydrothermal systems, geo-pressured and hot dry rock systems dividing them according to the temperature/enthalpy, their geological framework with a few comments about very deep available resources, around 5000-6000 meters.
The research then focused on low and medium enthalpy district heating issues and geothermal exchange systems with the use of heat pumps.
The research led to the creation of a roadmap that highlights the lines of research and experimentation necessary for more effective and targeted development of the resource in the Italian energy context while addressing issues related to its intensive use in confined areas, such as at neighborhood level.
Another issue addressed by RSE is the analysis of the legislation that regulates the field of geothermal plants in Italy and is very fragmented, inconsistent and often incoherent. In fact, national orientation and consistent guidelines are missing since current legislation varies widely according to the reference entity (state, region, province and municipality). Other activities regard measures to increase energy efficiency in end uses, using medium and low enthalpy heat pumps. In fact, the energy performance of a heat pump significantly depends on the temperature of the heat source available. The subsoil has generally stable temperatures during the year and optimal as regards the operation of the machines involved, provided that the dimensioning of the plant is carried out correctly.