The largest battery ever is just under our feet
Summoning heat from below
Heating our homes is warming up the Earth too. Associate Professor Phil Vardon and PhD candidate Ivaylo Pantev want to warm or cool buildings through their pile foundations, by using the natural temperature of the soil. If done well, this can help residents to save energy, money and problems for generations to come.
Finding fractures in the Outback
Armed with geological tools, a drone, three teammates and a four-wheel drive, geologist Pierre-Olivier Bruna ventured far off the beaten track into Australia’s Outback in the Northern Territory. His purpose: to study the geological history and structure of the McArthur Basin in an area called the ”Lost City” with peculiar stone pillars. The team specifically investigated natural cracks, called fractures, in the rocks to understand how fluids like groundwater or hydrocarbons flow through the rocks.
The geocentrifuge: a time machine for soil
What happens underground when a landslide occurs? And how do we prevent a high water load or the weight of passing traffic from causing a dike to collapse? Assistant Professor Amin Askarinejad explains how the geocentrifuge at TU Delft can provide detailed simulations of long term subsurface processes in a short time.
Mapping minerals with sensor technology
Minerals are of great importance to our modern society. From smartphone to laptop, these elements are everywhere. First they need to be extracted from the earth however, an often environmentally taxing, slow and complex process. But this will change soon, if it’s up to PhD student Feven Desta. Desta researches sensor technologies to look for minerals in an environmentally friendly way.
Rivers from a distant past
Armed with a hammer and a pickaxe and with a drone flying overhead, Hemmo Abels studies the sediments left by rivers that once flowed across the plains of the United States. By means of painstaking detective work he is gradually piecing together a picture of how these rivers changed over time, a process influenced in part by ancient climate change. The data he is gathering sheds light on our own subsoil when it comes to detecting hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs. ‘The effects of climate on river systems have been hugely under-researched.’
Micro-CT scanner reveals secrets hidden in prehistoric eggs
In 2016 archaeologists digging at a building site in Tilburg stumbled upon thirteen egg-shaped objects. Geoscientist Dominique Ngan put them in the micro-CT scanner of the Geoscience and Engineering Lab, studied the resulting 3D pictures and noticed some very interesting imprints in their shells. ‘A small find like this can shed a lot of light on a period we don’t know very much about.’