Joint German and Spanish research project managed to describe complex physical processes in the Earth's crust using open source research platform, OpenGeoSys. The insights generated will contribute to answer the research question whether water can be pumped safely into deep active volcanic areas to generate renewable heat and electricity.
The research project, HIGHER, which is financed by the German Research Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, explores the so-called super-hot geothermal systems. They are a new form of deep geothermal energy and can often be found in volcanic areas. The technology is particularly interesting because of its potentially high energy yield, which exceeds conventional systems by a factor of ten.
The research itself is carried out by German Technical University bergakademie Freiberg, The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and Spanish Consejo Superior de Investifaciones Cientificas (CSIC). Relying on an open source software, OpenGeoSys, the researchers were able to describe the complex physical processes in the Earth's crust and gained important insight into how supercritical geothermal systems can be operated safely in the future in order to develop a clean and sustainable renewable energy source.
OpenGeoSys is a scientific open source research platform, available on GitHub, for the development of state-of-the-art computer simulation of thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical (THMC) processes in porous and fractured media. The platform is managed by the UFZ in cooperation with various universities and research institutions.
The scientists have published the results in a study that was also published in the renowned scientific journal Nature Communications on 26 September.