Seasonal High-Temperature Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (HT-ATES) in the Bavarian Malm

In 2014, the BMW Group is starting an innovative research project on the temporary storage of thermal energy in the subsurface. Scientifically supported by the Chair of Hydrogeology of the Technische Universität München, the BMW plant in Dingolfing will build the world's first “High-Temperature Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage”. The concept involves the storage of intermittent excess energy in a Jurassic limestone aquifer at about 500 m depth.

The storage process takes place in a closed circuit that is located between the surface and the subsurface. The water that is recovered from a production well is heated via heat exchanger to up to 130°C and is subsequently fed back into the Jurassic "Malm" aquifer via an injection well. Thus, the aquifer will be used to store heat during summer and provide heat energy in winter. As a result the water balance is in equilibrium and no water is permanently removed from the aquifer.

This unique and novel project provides an important contribution to research into the topics of heat retention and storage and thus to sustainable energy solutions. By increasing the efficiency of decentralized energy production and storage, it could promote the application of technologies that contribute to a reduction of CO2 emissions. The feasibility of this concept would be a milestone in the push towards renewable energies development and is, therefore, promoted by Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology.

Research objectives:

  •     supervision of drilling operations and elicitation of geological data
  •     scientific backing for hydraulic tests, pumping tests and thermal storage tests
  •     evaluation of geological data

        (stratigraphy, aquifer quality, geophysical and hydraulic properties)  

  •     detailed analysis on drilling cores:


    • measurement of thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity by means of a modified Thermal Conductivity Scanner (TCS)
    • evaluation of thermal and hydraulic homogeneity
    • measurement of hydraulic conductivity under p/T reservoir conditions and injection of different fluids (by thermo-triax test cell)
  • correlation of geophysical data with thermal properties and hydraulic tests   
  • risk assessment for ground water contamination
  • forecast and long-term monitoring of the operating HT-ATES

Contributions to SDG


Daniel Bohnsack; Dr. Kai Zosseder


BMW Group

Project duration

2013 - 2016