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TU Delft awarded EUR 3.4m for research on efficiency and safety in geothermal operations

Steamboat Springs plant of Ormat, Nevada (source: Commons/ Wikimedia)
Alexander Richter 3 Jun 2020

How to operate a geothermal system in the most efficient and safe manner is part of research and training program efforts by TU Delft in the Netherlands. The project has secured funding of EUR 3.4 million from the European Commission.

A fund of EUR 3.4m (USD 3.8 million) has been awarded by the European Commission to a project on geothermal energy, that will be led by researcher Maren Brehme (TU Delft). The project entitled ‘EASYGO: Efficiency and Safety in Geothermal Operations‘ is one of the Innovative Training Networks meant for extraordinary global research as well as excellent training opportunities for PhD candidates to reach doctorate level.

Researching safe and efficient geothermal energy

Geothermal energy will play a key role in the energy transition as part of mitigating climate change. But how to operate a geothermal system in the most efficient and safe manner is one of the key challenges after a geothermal resource has been identified. EASYGO will answer that question from different perspectives, integrating geology, geophysics, geochemistry, advanced modelling and process engineering. The research is aligned with two key research questions:

  • How do we run geothermal systems efficiently?
  • How do we run geothermal systems safely?

All 13 PhD students (5 for TU Delft) will work on a specifically identified project but will learn aspects of the entire geothermal operation chain in an outstanding training programme. They will have access to unique large-scale research infrastructure available at the 4 universities and 10 industry partners of the consortium. The project will strengthen the geothermal research group at TUD around Phil Vardon, Maren Brehme and David Bruhn.

Training future geothermal-energy experts

Given the challenges in geothermal operations and the ambitious expansion plans for geothermal energy in many countries, there is an urgent need for geothermal experts with a broad understanding of geothermal systems. An important objective of EASYGO as an innovative training network is to train tomorrow’s leading geothermal-energy experts.

As Maren Brehme explains: “We would like to bring the next generation of geothermal energy leaders to the market with the best experience, skills and network, and we believe that this project does exactly that.”

Founding an IDEA League Doctoral School

EASYGO brings together four of the IDEA League partners (TU Delft, ETH Zurich, RWTH Aachen and Politecnico di Milano). The IDEA League is a strategic alliance of leading European universities of technology. This League already offers a joint MSc programme in Geophysics, but EASYGO will now bring the League to another level of scientific collaboration and will set a new standard in Joint Doctoral Education in the form of an IDEA League Doctoral School.

Source: TU Delft