The Interdisciplinary Thematic Institute for Geosciences for the Energy System Transition (ITI GeoT) addresses an innovative topic: the role of deep groundwater as a key tool for renewable georesource production. Deep groundwater is a key vector for heat, lithium, and native hydrogen, and key to carbon sequestration and heat storage. This multiplicity of use makes deep groundwater a critical multiple decarbonised georesource.
This innovative, transversal, and structured initiative builds on the foundation of the LabEx G-eau-thermie Profonde.
Research and Training
The ITI GeoT addresses these core challenges through a multi-faceted and multidisciplinary initiative that includes a demanding and internationally marketed student training program backed by advanced, interdisciplinary research conducted in partnership with leading industrial, government, and public stakeholders.
The ITI GeoT unites multiple disciplines around a series of overarching research themes to address the major challenges facing the use of deep groundwater as a tool for renewable energy production. These main challenges include:
Establishing deep geothermal energy as a major contributor to the European energy sector by improving the economic viability and profitability of these systems. One key way of increasing the economic appeal is through the co-production of resources, including lithium, hydrogen, heat, and storage, from a single geothermal reservoir. The future viability of geothermal resources also requires scientific and technological advances that will make the exploitation of very high temperature (400 to 500°C) resources possible.
Streamlining the exploration and characterisation of crustal reservoirs, by developing low-cost methods that repurpose geophysical imaging techniques and integrate emerging technologies to more efficiently assess temperature and fluid-flow in the crust. Reservoir characterisation also requires deepening our understanding of rock-fluid interactions in deep reservoirs to help us improve anthropogenic stimulation approaches, anticipate long-term reservoir deformation, and understand the reactions that govern lithium and hydrogen production.
The optimisation of how we exploit deep groundwater resources, which requires robust on-site workflows to maintain resource production, while monitoring seismic risk in real-time. Optimising exploitation activities also requires pump technologies that can operate under difficult environments, including at high temperature and under corrosive and scaling conditions.
Improving how we manage risk by improving how we monitor aseismic deformation and anthropogenic seismicity, better calibrating production protocols by improving geomechanical reservoir models using artificial intelligence, and working toward the development of multi-party regulatory bodies that can produce best practice guides for the industrial sector.
Understanding public perception and enhancing public engagement in geoenergy projects by tracking the evolution of media coverage of such projects and engaging the public through emerging “citizen science” initiatives.
The ITI GeoT, launched in January 2021, is one of 15 Interdisciplinary thematic institutes (ITI) established as part of a strategic overhaul of the research and training landscape at the University of Strasbourg.
These initiatives are part of the Initiative of Excellence (IdEx) jointly brought by the University of Strasbourg, the National center for scientific research (CNRS), and the National institute of health and medical research (Inserm) and are co-financed as part of the French Great Investment Plan (GPI) and the Future Investments Program (PIA).