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Subtopic 8.1 "Geoenergy"

Geothermal systems, carbon resources, and subsurface storage repositories are hosted in upper crustal rocks and are either the products of, or are modified by, mass and energy transport processes and feedbacks. In subtopic 8.1: Geoenergy, we study the properties and processes of both natural and engineered systems that will allow optimal and safe utilisation of the deep underground. We investigate the potential of geothermal resources, the secure subsurface storage of energy materials (e.g., Syngas, H2, CO2, radioactive waste) and the efficient use of carbon resources (e.g., gas hydrates, oil and gas, role of the deep biosphere).

Geothermal energy is an important domestic source for the future energy mix. We aim to provide the geothermal solutions for thermal energy provision in cities (heating and cooling), and to constrain the key processes necessary for the exploitation of intermediate depth, deep, and superhot geothermal systems. Additionally, our research focusses on the minimization of risks related to the utilization of geothermal reservoirs. We will develop optimized production strategies to minimize the induced hazards associated with reservoir stimulation.

Subsurface storage of energy products (e.g., heat, synthetic gas, Hydrogen) and energy waste material (e.g., radioactive waste, CO2) will become increasingly important in the near future as the subsurface allows the safe and sustainable storage of large quantities of energy on different time scales. Our research focusses on the development of: i) strategies for underground heat and cold storage at different depths, ii) approaches for efficient and sustainable storage of hydrogen and synthetic gas, iii) research platforms offering geoscience solutions for the save and reliable storage of radioactive waste. Geochemical and petrophysical experiments and measurement will form the basis for advanced modelling of the key processes.

A cleaner, more efficient use of carbon resources will be necessary during the energy transition from nuclear power and coal to renewable energies, and research in ST8.1 will focus on improving the production efficiency from conventional and unconventional systems. Within our hydrocarbon and gas hydrate research, the interaction processes of deep organic fluids or hydrate phases with the host rock matrix, formation waters, and microbial communities are of central interest. We will also focus on the geomechanical and physical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments, a risk for slope stability.  

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