We are aimed on the utilization of the upper crust for geothermal energy and storage systems for thermal energy and energy materials. We develop technologies for making use of the underground in the context of a sustainable, environmentally friendly energy supply. We will focus on new domestic heating/cooling concepts that include hydrothermal and petro-thermal heat, and developing options for geological storage of large amounts (TWh) of excess heat and energy carriers. The main purpose of our work in the Section Geoenergy is the exploration and development of reservoirs for energy purposes.
We approach these topics in a comprehensive, holistic way, the researchers in our section have background in various disciplines of Earth science and engineering disciplines addressing
Providing solutions to discover targets for urban heating and subsurface storage space based on methods of rock (incl. geomechanics) and fluid physics , experiments under simulated in situ conditions, incl. seismic & electrical tomography (Lab) and their integration in field exploration to the temperature and hydraulic field of the Earth, lithology, and structures in collaboration with special geophysical competence groups. The characterization includes enlightening natural processes based on experimental studies of fluid-fluid-rock/mineral interactions (e.g. H2) where target material is involved.
Workflows to develop targets for the energetic underground use, which includes methods of reservoir engineering, such as its stimulation und testing, thermal und hydraulic well logging, and innovative technologies of fibre optics such as DTS (temperature) and DAS (acoustics). Integration of data from actions in deep boreholes and laboratory process simulation using HTMC-modelling will lead to deliver safe man made treatments of the underground.
Competencies of this group comprise exploitation technologies demonstrated by operation of plants to recover geothermal heat and enable thermal storage, CO2 -, or H2-storage. Operation of research platforms (e.g. Groß Schönebeck, Berlin/Potsdam-projects) and the integration of geoenergy in energy supply systems and outreach of the results to the public are in the focus. Main task is monitoring of systems in operation to ensure wellbore integrity and safeness of the environment. Monitoring technologies based on integrative geophysical and geochemical multimethod systems strongly contribute to the validation of simulation of the operations.
Since 2009 the international research activities of GFZ in the field of geothermal technologies are coordinated by the International Centre for Geothermal Research. Since then the International Centre for Geothermal Research at GFZ is a coordination platform for multidisciplinary international and national research projects on geothermal energy supply. Until the end of 2015 organized as one of the Technology Transfer Centres in the context of Exploration and Exploitation of the Subterranean Space the activities of the ICGR will be continued in the Section "Geothermal Energy Systems" by 2016. Through the lead of Prof. Dr. E. Huenges and inclusion of all ICGR staff into the Section "Geothermal Energy Systems" continuity of the current work is guaranteed.
Within international and national research cooperations topics of basic and applied research as well as their applications are adressed in large scale hands on projects which plot the whole process for an energetic use of the underground. The solution for an utilization of underground resources meet the challenge to contribute to strategies for the mitigation of climate changes by developing reliable geothermal technologies and innovative concepts of a sustainable and economic energy supply of power, heat and chill.
In the context of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Prof. Ernst Huenges contributed to the Special Report on Renewable Energies and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN):
Goldstein, B., G. Hiriart, R. Bertani, C. Bromley, L. Gutiérrez-Negrín, E. Huenges, H. Muraoka, A. Ragnarsson, J. Tester, V. Zui, 2011: Geothermal Energy. In IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation [O. Edenhofer, R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, K. Seyboth, P. Matschoss, S. Kadner, T. Zwickel, P. Eickemeier, G. Hansen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
ICGR is a founding member of the Joint Programme on Geothermal Energy (JPGE) in the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) and Prof. Ernst Huenges was one of the first coordinators of the Joint Programme. The Programme aims at providing an outstanding contribution bringing together the leading European geothermal research institutions in a strategically oriented Joint R&D Programme.
Within the topic-oriented Helmholtz Research Programmes our group coordinates the topic "Geothermal Energy Systems" together with groups at KIT and UFZ.
In the cross-programme initiative Geoenergy our goal is to strengthen national research activities by a stronger link of existing in-situ laboratories in deep sedimentary rocks at Groß Schönebeck (geothermal) and at Ketzin (CO2 storage) together with the future GeoLaB in crystalline basement rocks and research on suitable simulation tools.