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2021-04-01 - 2024-03-31

Characterizing and understanding Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) - novel tools and applications in a deep underground laboratory (SNF-EGS Multi PhD)

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are conceptually an extremely attractive options for generating electricity, but commercial EGS plants were so far rarely successful. The main reason for these failures is the lack of understanding of the physical processes associated with the creation and maintenance of EGS reservoirs. This project is designed to fill this research gap. It will greatly benefit from the newly established infrastructure in the BedrettoLab, and it will also benefit from boreholes and comprehensive monitoring networks that are currently installed there in the framework of ongoing Pilot and Demonstration projects. This offers unique opportunities for addressing important research tasks. Our project includes five PhD subprojects. Their tentative objectives can be summarized as follows.

  • PhD 1: Geophysical fault characterization
    Seismic and ground-penetrating radar data will be employed for characterizing properties of faults and fractures within the Bedretto geothermal reservoir.
  • PhD 2: Analyzing temporal changes within a geothermal reservoir
    Repeated active seismic measurements and interferometric techniques will be employed to monitor subtle changes within the reservoir.
  • PhD 3: Picoseismic events
    In this project it will be explored, if and how traditional seismological source characterization techniques can be adapted to very small events with magnitudes < 3.
  • PhD 4: Laboratory and field scale analysis of seismic data
    This project will focus on the variability of petrophysical parameters of the rock during stimulation and its effect on elastic wave propagation. It includes advanced numerical methods for elastic wavefield modelling, data analysis and an extensive laboratory on rock samples from drill cores.
  • Phd 5: Numerical modelling of geothermal reservoirs
    Here, we will further develop Hierarchical Fracture Models for Simulating EGS (HFR-Sim), and we will make significant steps towards a real-time Advanced Traffic Light System (ATLS), which will be required for the creation and maintenance of commercial EGS power plants.

Project Contact

Hansruedi Maurer



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