Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy uses the natural heat flow in the earth’s interior and represents a base-load capable, CO2-neutral energy source for the production of heat and electricity. The underground space can also be tapped and used for material (H2, CO2, natural gas) and energy storage (heat, cold). Fraunhofer Energy Alliance conducts research in the field of exploration, development and technical connection to existing and future supply structures and makes a significant contribution to opening up the markets for the application of geothermal energy systems, the storage of energy sources and technologies for the coupling of the energy sectors heat and electricity in an even more targeted manner.

Competences of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance in the field of Geothermal Energy

Geo-Resources - Development

The development and integration of geo-resources and the underground space is an essential part of a successful transformation to sustainable energy supply. The institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research offer a wide range of services in the fields of preliminary exploration, prospecting and characterization of reservoirs and storage of materials and heat in the underground, evaluate and analyze exploration- and production-related geohazards, and bundle digital data management. We accompany our projects for the development and sustainable use of geothermal energy and other geo-resources with monitoring, reservoir modeling, reservoir analyses and simulations, and carry out field tests and laboratory experiments. We also conduct research into innovative drilling methods and novel drilling technologies, and plan and implement deep drilling projects.

Projects

 

Micro Turbine Drilling

In the Micro Turbine Drilling (MTD) project applied for here, a method is to be developed with which the permeability can be increased even in very hard production horizons of geothermal wells.

 

CAGE

CAGE is a demonstration project for new drilling, expansion, and stimulation technologies that offer increased control and security in the development and application of geothermal reservoirs in carbonate rocks.

 

DEEP

DEEP aims to understand and reduce the risk of induced seismicity in deep geothermal projects. 

 

Project Page  I  Geothermica

Power Plants and Grid Integration

In the competence field "Power Plants and Grid Integration", our experts advise customers on connecting thermal and material grid infrastructures with sustainable energy and heat generators and analyze potential for coupling the primary sectors of electricity and heat. We develop solutions for the transformation of today's energy systems from a vertical to a cross-sector architecture from building to neighborhood scale, pursuing a holistic research approach that combines new methods such as artificial intelligence with the integrated concepts of automation and control technology. In our demonstrators and real laboratories, we develop and test the necessary technologies along the entire value chain.

Projects

 

DGE Rollout

The goal of the DGE rollout is to lay the foundations for increasing the utilization of DGE for large infrastructure in northwestern Europe. 

Process Engineering for Energy Processes

With the aim of driving forward the transformation process currently taking place in the fields of industry and energy supply, we research and develop sustainable concepts for the substitution of fossil primary raw materials and the use of sustainable energy sources, as well as the establishment of technologies that are as climate-neutral as possible in almost all areas of industry. For this purpose, experts of Fraunhofer Energy Research plan and develop systems ranging from simple test benches to large-scale plants and from the initial idea to operational optimization. Planning and implementation of both material and thermodynamic processes in plant design, design and component dimensioning and simulations of individual components as well as complete plants are accompanied. In addition, we design and test the control of complex systems, accompany plant construction and commissioning, monitor operation and use the results to optimize operation. In doing so, our researchers always work closely with customers and project partners and transfer theoretical, scientific findings into practice.

Projects

 

InnoTherm Ruhr

The primary goal of the InnoTherm Ruhr project is the focused use of sustainable heat in the Ruhr area. Economically, it hopes to strength the competitiveness of this energy source relative to others, acting as a driver in the region.

 

GECO

GECO (Geothermal Emission Control) is an innovative project aiming at advancing greatly the ability to provide cleaner and cost-effective non-carbon emitting geothermal energy across Europe and the World. 

Heating and Cooling

Successful transformation of the heating and cooling sectors is an essential part of the energy transition. The institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft offer services in the areas of the use of existing heating grids, "cold" district and local heating grids, and bidirectional grids. We develop concepts for sustainable heating and cooling supply systems based on the integration and combination of regenerative heat and cooling sources as well as short- and long-term storage and the integration of thermodynamic converters. To this end, we integrate, among other things, existing mine infrastructures as heating and cooling underground storage facilities and couple shallow, medium-depth and deep geothermal energy with heat pump systems for heating and cooling purposes to other renewable energies and sectors (PV, PV-T, solar, waste heat). Thus, in our demonstrators we develop innovative solutions for underground and surface extraction and storage systems and their coupling to local to municipal supply infrastructures.

Projects

 

MissElly

The MissElly is being carried out jointly between Fraunhofer IEG and Voltavision GmbH. The aim is to provide cold air to cool laboratories and test stations for performance electronics all year round. 

Energy and Materials - Underground Storage

With the end of the fossil fuel era, underground space is becoming increasingly important for the extraction and storage of thermal energy and energy resources. The underground is a key element of future interconnected energy infrastructures with large-scale thermal storage as well as material storage for hydrogen, carbon dioxide and natural gas. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s research activities in the competence field "Underground Storage" address special applications for the supply of heat and cold to industry and agriculture, such as the subsequent use of deep boreholes, disused mining infrastructures of opencast and underground mines, and mine waters. Our services include research-oriented site analyses and feasibility studies for energy applications between thermal geophysics and thermal building physics as well as industrial process control for large near-surface geothermal plants.

Projects

 

HEATSTORE

The aim of the German HEATSTORE sub-project is to create a technically and fully functional high temperature mine thermal energy storage (HT-MTES) pilot plant  for the energetic reuse of an abandoned coal mine.