Our Research Programme 2021-2027

Topic 8 "Georesources for the Energy Transition and a High-Tech Society" │coordinated by GFZ

With a growing world population, the demand for energy and raw materials is also rising. The continued strong dependence on fossil fuels and the increasingly costly access to many geo resources are major challenges.

More people than ever live in urban centres and use sophisticated technologies. Topic 8 will address one of the most fundamental challenges facing society: securing the future supply of energy and raw materials needed to sustain our 21st century infrastructure, to enable the transition from fossil and nuclear energy to renewables. In doing so, we want to achieve the targeted reduction of CO2 emissions and also to support a growing circular economy. During this transition, geoscience solutions to sustainable energy, raw materials supply, and subsurface storage of waste will be required, with a growing emphasis on the deep subsurface. 

Future research foci include:

  • development and application of new technologies for georesources
  • accessing clean geothermal energy as an integral part of the energy supply
  • optimizing the use of hydrocarbon resources to support the energy transition;
  • constraining the key processes that form high value ore deposits
  • developing knowledge-based approaches for the safe disposal of waste from energy production
  • designing new observational, experimental and simulation platforms to assess the coupled thermal, hydraulic, mechanical, chemical, and biological controls on resources
  • integrating geodynamics as a fundamental control on the occurrence of resources and a defining boundary condition for safe subsurface utilization
  • the role of biological-solid-fluid interactions and the deep biosphere in georesource systems.

8.1. Geoenergy

Subtopic "Geoenergy" investigates properties and processes in natural and engineered subsurface systems to ensure optimal utilization. In this subtopic we explore the potential of geothermal systems, the safe underground storage of energy carriers (e.g. syngas, hydrogen, CO2, nuclear waste) as well as carbon-hydrogen systems.

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8.2 Raw Materials

"Raw Materials" explores the formation of large ore deposits on land and in the ocean. We especially focus on magmatic, hydrothermal and massive sulfide deposits, which contribute to resource security and sustainable mining due to their size.

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8.3 Integration

Subtopic "Integrating Geoenergy and Mineral Systems" combines the synergies of subtopic 8.1 and subtopic 8.2 and explores substantial processes underlying both systems. Cross-cutting topics are coupled processes including 4D modeling, geodynamic processes, technological developments.

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