Rock physics


These projects are aimed at characterizing and interpreting the chemo-mechanical behaviour of rocks, with strong implications for geothermal energy. Funding comes from NWO (VENI-project by Anne Pluymakers), the European Union (Horizon 2020 “SURE”-project by Richard Bakker and the ‘Destress’ project by Nima Doonechaly). The SURE and DESTRESS projects are specifically geared towards improving the success rate of geothermal energy exploitation.


I want to determine the effects of pore fluid chemistry on the mechanical behaviour of limestone (the first deep Dutch geothermal targets are in limestone). I use a combination of rock mechanics experiments (fracture and permeability experiments at pressure) and microstructural work (microscopy and microtomography). This research will help understand if and how the mechanical balance in deep limestone formations is affected by potential chemical changes related to geothermal heat extraction.  

Adviser: Auke Barnhoorn

Richard Bakker

For relevant geothermal reservoir rocks, I determine how the mechanical properties (such as porosity and permeability), and try to understand how the heat transfer coefficient is affected when fractures open. Furthermore, I am part of a team creating and improving a new technique to create extra permeability at depth using high-pressure water nozzles (jet drilling). This research scale varies from micrometer scale (e.g., microCT analysis) to field scale (field testing in operating geothermal wells).

Advisers: David Bruhn, Auke Barnhoorn

Nima Gholizadeh Doonechaly

I study the mechanics of naturally and hydraulically fractured reservoirs, using a discrete fracture approach. The aim is to improve reservoir management by determining how a geothermal reservoir responds to different stimulation as well as operational scenarios.

Adviser: David Bruhn