Geothermal Science and Engineering is a theme within the Department of Geoscience and Engineering and one of the focal points for current and future research and education. As TU Delft is a multi-disciplinary research environment, where strong fundamental science meets applied societal challenges, it offers the ideal environment for a knowledge centre and a global player in Geothermal research and development.
While geothermal energy can be used to generate electricity, much more of the geothermal energy generated is used directly as heat, and importantly, with a low carbon footprint. Since heat makes up ~80% of the energy use in the urban environment, geothermal energy has the potential to be a key part of the energy transition. Geothermal heat can be extracted directly from the surface all the way to the limits of drilling technology, kilometres below the surface. There is an economical balance between amount of heat extracted and costs of extraction, where different technologies are used to extract the heat from different depths. Moreover, in the shallow sub-surface (100s of meters) heat can also be stored for re-use, for example capturing the summer heat for use in winter, and using the cold ground to provide cooling during summer. Deep subsurface heat (1-5 km) can be used for direct heat supply, and even for electricity generation (where temperatures are over 100 ºC).
Events & News
01 May 2023
Delft Subsurface Urban Energy Lab strengthened with geothermal source on campus
What was born almost 20 years ago as an enthusiastic plan by some Applied Earth Sciences students is now becoming reality: the construction of the wells will start this summer, and in a few years' time TU Delft's campus will be heated by a geothermal source. Earlier this week, the consortium behind Geothermie Delft decided to make the necessary follow-on investment to realise the planned geothermal wells and start the research programme.
How to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels?
Phil Vardon researches the possibilities of geothermal energy for the energy transition. He hopes that in 20 years’ time every new building will be heated by using some sort of geothermal energy.
A geothermal research well on TU Delfts premises
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.
Producing geothermal energy in Indonesia
Her fieldwork takes geologist Fiorenza Deon to remote areas in Indonesia and it wasn’t long before she learned the language, a skill she needs to be able to negotiate with the local authorities. Her geologic research forms part of GEOCAP, an international collaboration between the governments of Indonesia and the Netherlands, companies and universities aimed at exploring the use of geothermal energy.
Drilling for heat deep down below
The deeper you go into the ground, the hotter it gets. Richard Bakker, a researcher at the Geoscience & Engineering department, knows all about this. He has previously conducted research on volcanoes, but is currently working on geothermal energy.