South Korea - Direct Uses




individual space heating



District heating



Greenhouse heating



bathing and swimming



 geothermal heat pumps





Total thermal installed capacity in MWt


Direct use in TJ/year


Direct use in GWh/year


Capacity factor



Country Update: Direct-use of geothermal energy in the country has been quite active over the last five years, especially geothermal heat pump (GHP) installations. The rapid increase of GHP is mainly due to active government subsidizing programs for renewable energy development, but recently the number of installations without subsidy has also increased. There are several areas producing hot spring water with temperature higher than 60oC which circulates through deeply extended fractures in crystalline rocks. This hot water has been utilized for floor heating in the hot spring areas for more than 20 years. In addition, a small-scale district heating and greenhouse heating with hot spring water was started in 2008. 65% of the GHP installations are in office buildings, and 35% are for residential, agriculture, aquaculture and other uses. The COP in the heating mode is 3.73. It is estimated that over 7,000 GHP units have been installed in the country of which 75% are vertical closed loop, 16% are open loop (ground water), and 5.5% are horizontal closed loop installations. (Song and Lee, 2015).

Taken from: John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd
Published in Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2015 Worldwide Review

Total thermal installed capacity in MWt:229.3
Direct use in TJ/year1,954.65
Direct use in GWh/year543
Capacity factor0.27

Direct-use statistics on 13 major hot springs showing discharge temperatures higher than 42oC, some of which have been used for more than a thousand years. Many of these hot springs are used for space heating of small hotel buildings and for greenhouses.

There has been a large increase in greenhouse heating use in rural areas due to financial support for a special rural subsidy program. Recently, some private universities installed large heating systems without government subsidy in order to reduce operating costs of heating and cooling on campus. Geothermal or ground-source heat pump installation is rapidly increasing over the past four years, with a large increase in 2009, due again to an active rural subsidy program. Most installations in the country are mainly for office and public buildings and relatively large buildings such as dormitory, university campus and hospitals. Geothermal heat pumps are found in over 700 locations throughout the country and are typically in the 300 to 100 kW size for a total of over 3,000 units.

The various applications are:

8.66 MWt and 53.43 TJ/yr for individual space heating;
2.21 MWt and 31.28 TJ/yr for district heating;
0.17 MWt and 1.33 TJ/yr for greenhouse heating;
32.56 MWt and 507.61 TJ/yr for bathing and swimming;
185.7 MWt and 1,361 TJ/yr for geothermal heat pumps.

The total for the country is 229.3 MWt and 1,954.65 TJ/yr.

Taken from the paper by John W. Lund, Derek H. Freeston, and Tonya L. Boyd: "Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2010 Worldwide Review"; published in Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010