Geothermics

 

Geothermics concerns the investigation of the earth’s temperature field as well as related heat transport processes.This scientific field comprises applied research for directly utilizing geothermal energy or converting it to electricity as well as studies that link the heat transport in the earth to geodynamic processes. Finally, by means of the “thermal memory” of rock formations of the earth’s crust (because of their low heat conductivity), conclusions can be drawn from temperature measurements in borings about how the temperature of the earth’s surface has progressively changed over time.

Our geothermal research particularly focuses on the applied aspects but without excluding geodynamic topics or those pertinent to climate. For this, we apply numeric simulations with numeric programs that we have mainly designed and tested for these purposes. Another important aid is the measurement of thermal and hydraulic rock formation properties in the laboratory. Furthermore, for directly measuring temperature, we also have at our disposal a borehole measurement apparatus for small-caliber borings down to a depth of 1500 m. The combination of all three methods allows us to determine, describe and comprehend the temperature field and heat transport processes in the earth. Ultimately, we can derive various scenarios for the exploitation of geothermal energy directly or for generating electricity.

Moreover, in our research, we set great value upon specifying the unavoidable uncertainties in the attained conclusions that result from the variability of the rocks and their physical properties as well as the still insufficient knowledge about the exact construction of the geological subsurface. The reproduction of these uncertainties in the target parameters of our studies allows us, for example, to state the risks concerning the cost-effectiveness of planned geothermal units.

 

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