Geothermal Energy

The topic „Geothermal Energy has gain enormous interest during the last decades since it is an attractive resource of energy. The use of geothermal energy leads to the substitution of fossil fuels and, accordingly, to the reduction of CO2 emission. Depending on the drilling depth, there are two possibilities to extract geothermal energy:

  • shallow geothermal energy (< 400 m)
  • deep geothermal energy (> 400m)

While installations of shallow geothermal energy systems increase, there are still uncertainties, which prevent the use of geothermal energy to tap its full potential. These uncertainties are due to insufficient accuracy of the subsurface modeling, which determine the performance of a geothermal energy system. Aim of the research is the accurate prediction of the long-term behavior of geothermal potentials.

The research on deep geothermal energy targets to increase the knowledge of flow rates and groundwater temperature in deep aquifers and to improve the methods to assess and predict these parameters. Field works are carried out to collect hydraulic and thermal data. Empirical and statistical analysis, analysis of tectonic processes, 3D-geological modeling and numerical simulations including heat transport processes are performed to achieve profound understanding of thermal behavior of the subsurface.

The research in the field of shallow geothermal energy includes the investigation of heat and fluid transport processes and the assessment of the related principle parameters such as thermal conductivity and thermal capacity of various natural matrices and technique materials. In this context, the research activities involve also the improvement of parameter assessment technique in the field and laboratory. Numerical heat transport models are used to simulate the geothermal installations under different conditions. Following are the main focuses of the research in the field of shallow geothermal energy:

  •  Assessment of the interaction between geothermal installations and the subsurface
  • Effect of geothermal use on groundwater
  • Improvement of the prediction method based on the numerical technique comparing/coupling different softwares