ETH Zurich receives $11 million for geothermal chair

ETH Zurich, Switzerland (source: flickr/ edwaado, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 7 May 2013

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) receives $11 million to establish a Chair in deep geothermal energy, as part of a larger geothermal initiative by the school.

ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, recives CHF 10 million ($10.7 million)  from the Werner Siemens Foundation to establish a Chair in Deep Geothermal Energy.

This will enable the school to launch an initiative in this promising energy technology, so an announcement by the school.

The decision by the school to create two chairs in deep geothermal energy underlines the desire to play an active part in shaping Switzerland’s future energy landscape. The donation of 10 million Swiss francs to the ETH Zurich Foundation by the Werner Siemens Foundation will now enable ETH Zurich to take firm steps to press ahead with its geothermal energy strategy.

Ralph Eichler, President of ETH Zurich, said, “The very generous donation from the Werner Siemens Foundation will strengthen ETH Zurich’s work on deep geothermal energy at just the right time. We must now make every effort to tackle the fundamental research for this form of geothermal energy quickly if we want it to deliver tangible benefits in ten to twenty years’ time.” The appointment process for the new chair in geo-energy has already begun with the advertisement of the vacancy. The chair will be based in the Department of Earth Sciences.

For the time being, the main need is for research and demonstration facilities to determine the potential of deep geothermal energy in specific terms and make reliable forecasts for the future. Ralph Eichler believes that it will take a concerted effort by the government agencies involved and by researchers and the business world in order to raise up the energy hoard slumbering deep within the earth. He says that ETH Zurich will play its part in this by supplying the fundamental knowledge, innovative processes and skilled personnel that will be needed in the future to construct and operate facilities of this kind.

Source: ETH Zurich announcement