Maren Brehme is the scientific lead of the EASYGO project. She herself works in geothermal research for more than ten years and is excited to now guide the next generation of geothermal experts.

The EASYGO Innovative Training Network is the first standardized doctoral education program in Europe. It builds on experience and collaboration among the IDEA League universities in various research projects and the joint MSc Applied Geophysics.

This collaboration is now taken to the next level of higher education with the greatly appreciated support of the IDEA League rectors.

Who we are

Given the challenges in geothermal operations and the ambitious expansion plans for geothermal energy in many countries, there is an urgent need for experts with a broad understanding of geothermal systems. How can such systems be operated in the most efficient and safe manner? Within the ITN EASYGO, funded by the European Commission, the IDEA League universities TU Delft (TUD), ETH Zurich (ETH), RWTH Aachen University (RWTH), Politecnico di Milano (PoliMi) and 10 industry partners are addressing this question from different perspectives, integrating geology, geophysics, geochemistry, advanced modeling and process engineering. In this framework, EASYGO is looking forward to train tomorrow’s leading geothermal energy experts.

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.

What do we do?

Geothermal energy provides base-load heat and/or electricity and is a primary energy resource for a sustainable future. Numerous research projects have investigated the exploration of geothermal systems or focused on specific aspects of subsurface or surface components of the system. Efficiency and safety of geothermal operations on the other hand have not been considered a comprehensive research topic nor is a broad interdisciplinary training programme available. Training for geothermal operations is not standardised and still has to be optimised. 

The individual research projects of this research programme cover the whole chain of geothermal operations. Specific research topics are: optimised representation of reservoir heterogeneity, reservoir management including upscaling of laboratory-scale measurements to reservoir scale, near-borehole and in-borehole coupled processes, power-plant component optimisation, optimised injection strategies including alternative fluid, e.g. CO2, and geophysical-geochemical monitoring during operations. Different methods will be used in the ESR projects including onsite field measurements, laboratory experiments and novel simulation techniques. All projects are aligned with two key research questions: “How do we run geothermal systems efficiently?” and “How do we run geothermal systems safely?”

Why do we do this?

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. EASYGO graduates will be a new generation of multidisciplinary experts in geothermal operations trained to achieve standardised efficient and safe operations of geothermal systems to enable the ambitious international expansion plans. Our ambition is to contribute to making Europe a world leader in geothermal science, operational technology and education, thereby accelerating the energy transition. 

Specific research objectives to surpass existing benchmarks are: 

  • To generate real-scale field data in an operational environment 
  • To develop new monitoring strategies and sensors that can be integrated in the casing 
  • To invent novel materials for casing and power plant components 
  • To test different fluid mixtures at subsurface and surface 
  • To acquire new data and combine methods to better define subsurface heterogeneity 
  • To explore novel techniques to predict stress changes in the reservoir 

How do we do this?

To reach these goals, the following methods will be applied: 

  • Advanced and integrated monitoring concepts – to observe and measure processes in the subsurface prior to and during decades of operation (ESR 1,3,4,12) 
  • Coupled real-time simulations of subsurface processes – to systematically investigate relationships between reservoir features and heterogeneities based on existing data from in-situ experiments and new data acquisition (ESR 2,8,9,10,11) 
  • Development of system components for energy conversion – to optimise system performance by assessing operating conditions and adapting component design (ESR 5,13) 
  • Assessment and testing of novel concepts for design and operation of geothermal systems – to broaden geothermal energy supply options and enhance flexibility and efficiency (ESR 6,7,13) 
  • Testing of operation parameters at the real scale – to validate models, improved design and components (ESR 1,2,5,10,12,13) 

Work Package 1
Efficiency in Geothermal Operations,

Lead: PoliMi

The efficient operation of a geothermal system directly affects its lifetime and economic viability. Efficiency depends on numerous surface and subsurface processes and their interaction, e.g., between geology, fluid-flow and surface layout and technical components. Efficiency optimization is possible along the whole operation chain from fluid production and energy generation to injection. 

Work Package 2
Safety in Geothermal Operations,

Lead: ETH Zurich

Monitoring the safety of geothermal operations is the second aspect to be improved, since the combination of system parameters guaranteeing efficiency can lead to unintended reactions in wells or pipelines, potentially even putting the system integration, operation or environment at risk. 

Work Package 3

Lead: RWTH Aachen

The overall training objective is to educate experts who can handle challenges in daily operation of geothermal systems. A strong focus of the training programme will be on interdisciplinarity and application at the real scale at the large-scale infrastructures. 

Work Package 4
Dissemination and Communication,

Lead: TU Delft

EASYGO participants are firmly convinced of the value of communicating about research to a broad target of interested parties, embedding research and innovation into all layers of society, raising awareness of its importance, and stimulating debate. 

Work Package 5
Management and Organization,

Lead: ETH Zurich

Manage and coordinate the correct progress of EASYGO including administrative, financial and legal management 

Work Package 6
Ethics requirements,

Lead: ETH Zurich

The objective is to ensure compliance with the ‘ethics requirements’ set out in this work packag

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