Exploration and Operation of Geothermal Systems – A Research Group supported by Energi Simulation
Dr. Maren Brehme has become member of the Energi Simulation family and will be supported with her research group on Exploration and Operation of Geothermal Systems.
Geothermal energy is a key contributor to the successful energy transition worldwide as part of mitigating climate change. In order to utilize this resource, a massive extension of geothermal energy use is needed. Given these ambitious expansion plans, there is an urgent need for geothermal expert understanding of geothermal systems. Through the funding by Energi Simulation, Maren Brehme will establish a research group of 12-15 young excellent scientists at ETH Zürich-Institute of Geophysics-GEG-Group.
The Energi Simulation Group for Geothermal Exploration and Operation focuses on three Strategic Research Areas: 1) Geothermal Systems Understanding, 2) Effective Utilization of Systems, and 3) System Response to Utilization. The approach to tackle these research areas include field work, laboratory measurements, and numerical simulations and will make use of geological, geophysical, hydrogeochemical, and hydrogeological methods. Real-scale and real-time data will be obtained in geothermal fields from wells, the power plant infrastructure, hot springs, or surface outcrops.
Exploration of new geothermal well targets is one of the main goals of the EXPO group.
The operation of geothermal fields includes a lot of challenges that the EXPO group will work on.
Recent activities of the EXPO group
April 2022, Inauguration of the EXPO group at ETH
Inauguration of the EXPO group at ETH Zürich
April – September 2022, Start of the EXPO group at ETH
Currently, 6 PhD students and 1 PostDoc work with the group leader Dr. Maren Brehme. Additionally to specific topic meetings, the group, which immediately formed after the inauguration gathered in irregular intervals for brainstorming on common challenges and expertise in their geothermal research. Here, we defined possible future research and dissemination activities for the EXPO group. We also celebrated the inauguration and sometimes organized socializing events (dinner).
September 2022, Energi Simulation Summit and Geothermal School
October 2022, visit of the Energi Simulation delegation to ETH
The visit of Energi Simulation to ETH was very much appreciated and left a very good impression on ETH Zurich. The input from the visitors and the advisory committee was very helpful to adjust the lead of the group and integrate new research and organizational ideas.
May 2023, EXPO visits TU Delft
Visiting for an Energi Simulation mini retreat with Roman Shor, Hadi Hajibeygi and Sebastian Geiger to discuss plans for close collaborations between ETH, TU Delft and University of Calgary on energy research topics.
June 2023, EXPO team starts collaboration with Indonesian partners
Today we as ETH team are at the ITB International Geothermal Workshop in Bandung to network with academia and industry and to learn about recent developments in indonesia. We also officially started the collaboration between PLN, ITB and ETH.
June 2023, EXPO team on field work
Three female researchers from ETH Zürich and a technician from GFZ Potsdam currently conduct fieldwork in South Sumatra, specifically focusing on Lake Ranau. The fieldwork team is part of the EXPO group under the lead of Dr. Maren Brehme, Energi Simulation Chair at ETH Zurich.
The purpose of their research is to investigate the geothermal potential of the area. The team works in collaboration with ITB the Technical University of Bandung and PLN the national electricity provider, combining academic expertise with practical industry knowledge. To gather data and assess the geothermal resources, the team employs various methods during their fieldwork: They conduct bathymetry, which involves measuring the depths and contours of the lake’s underwater terrain.
Additionally, they utilize an underwater drone to explore and document the submerged features of the lake. The team also collects hot spring samples, aiming to analyze the chemical composition and temperature of the springs. These samples can provide valuable information about the geothermal activity in the area. Furthermore, sediment samples are extracted from the bottom of the lake to study the geological history and identify any signs of geothermal activity. Structural mapping was another crucial aspect of their study. By examining the rock formations and #geological structures in the region, the team aims to identify potential pathways for geothermal fluids and detect areas of high geothermal potential.
Through their comprehensive fieldwork and collaboration with the university and company, the team seeks to gain a better understanding of the geothermal resources present in the South Sumatra region. The data and insights obtained from this study can contribute to future geothermal exploration and development efforts in the area, potentially unlocking a sustainable and renewableenergy source for the local community. To keep up with their work, follow their journey here: https://miro.com/app/board/uXjVMBaI6oM=/?share_link_id=647281083624
June 2023, 2 BSc thesis finished
Two BSc thesis have been completed on the following topics with the support of Energi Simulation.
– Mapping of geothermal potential in Switzerland
– Fluid inflow in lake Zurich captured by subsea drone technology
Thanks to Alexandra Aregger and Rebekka Merkofer for their effort