Applied Geosciences - Geohydromodelling

Running projects


Test site for the assessment and monitoring of reactive multi-phase transport processes in shallow aquifers induced by subsurface use

Interventions in the geological subsurface draw public attention especially on the operations' possible impacts on near-surface groundwater as a potential drinking water resource. Direct consequences of e.g. aquifer contaminations, however, are often insufficiently assessed. Here, especially field experiments under controlled  boundary conditions can help deliver reliable information on reactions and transport processes.

For this purpose, the project TestUM-Aquifer will establish a test site for the investigation of multi-phase and heat transport processes in shallow aquifers. The site is located in a small, prliminarily explored area near the city of Wittstock in the state of Brandenburg.  The planned field experiments focus on geophysical, hydrogeochemical and microbiological investigations of reactive multi-phase transport processes as a consequence of induced gas leakages into an aquifer.

The effects of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen mixtures (air) , methane and hydrogen as well as the conseqences of heat storage on transport processes in the groundwater will be investigated. The field experiments will be prepared and verified using numerical models.

As overarching tasks, TestUM-Aquifer addresses the detectability, predictability and controllability of reactice multi-phase and heat transport processes in natural shallow aquifers. The project is subdivided into 3 sub-projects:

  • TP 1 | Experimental and numerical models
  • TP 2 | Geophysical monitoring and parameterisation
  • TP 3 | hydrogeochemical, isotope-chemical and microbiological processes

The first sub-project will develop experimental and numerical models for the quantitative prognosis of gas spreading and connected mobilising reactions.

The second sub-project focusses on selected geophysical methods for the exploration and monitoring aof gas phase bodies and temperature fields in the shallow geological subsurface.

The third sub-project adresses hydrogeochemical, isotope-chemical and microbiological processes following exposures to gas or heat. Especially the release of trace metals into the groundwater and their adsorption by sediment.

The test field and the experiments provide for an internationally unique  research approach. The planned studies on heat storage in shallow geological formations will be crucial in the field of energy storage in urban areas. A continuation of the test site operation beyond the project TestUM-Aquifer is intended, in order to provide a unique geoscientific infrastructure open to the national and international scientific community. 

Project partners:

  • Kiel University (CAU)
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ GmbH

Project coordination:

Prof. Dr. Andreas Dahmke (CAU)
Institut für Geowissenschaften
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Ludewig-Meyn-Str. 10, 24118 Kiel
Tel: +49 431 880 2857

Test site coordination:

Dr. Götz Hornbruch (CAU)
Institut für Geowissenschaften
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Ludewig-Meyn-Str. 10, 24118 Kiel
Tel: +49 431 880 2876

Project duration:

36 months, 07/2017 – 06/2020

Project website:


TestUM-Aquifer is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research through the programme GEO:N  within the framework FONA3.




Impacts of the use of the geological subsurface for thermal, electrical or material energy storage in the context of the transition to renewable energy sources – Integration of subsurface storage technologies into the energy system transformation using the example of Schleswig-Holstein as a model area

For the future energy supply based on renewables, energy storage will be a crucial component to compensate for producer fluctuations and seasonal variability. Geotechnical storage options provide large storage capacities as well as storage times from hours to months and years.

The research project ANGUS II continues investigating subsurface storage options for hydrogen, synthetic methane, compressed air and heat or cold - topics already adressed in the preceding project ANGUS+.

ANGUS II will complete the characterisation of the subterranean geosystem with the yet unstudied hydraulic barriers and related processes. Coupling schemes for existing models for the simulation of energy grids, individual power plants and geotechnical storage sites will be developed and applied to realistic scenarios. This will allow investigating economically feasible scenarios of storage operation and the integration of geotechnical energy storages into the energy supply considering different indicative trajectories of the grid expansion and the renewable energy production. Impacts of geotechnical storage operations on the subsurface environment will be quantified with variable temporal and spatial resolution using process-based simulations. Possible impacts on protected entities and possible interactions with adjacent storage sites or other types of subsurface use will be examined. Field measurements of natural background processes and mesoscale experiments will be used to validate newly developed modelling tools. The achieved results will help enhance a subsurface planning scheme developed in ANGUS+.

The project ANGUS II pursues 4 objectives:

1 | Describing the part of the geosystem in Schleswig-Holstein which hosts potential for geotechnical energy storage: Expanding the characterisation of processes and parameters for geological layers with low permeability, hydraulic barriers, and and the unsaturated zone.

2 | Enhancement and validation of existing models for the simulation of geotechnical energy storage sites and their impacts, as well as coupling with models for the simulation of the energy supply and individual power stations.

3 | Definition and Analyses of scenarios

a) considering the integration of geotechnical energy storage sites into the the energy supply and of economically feasible scenarios of operation.

b) considering the temporally and spatially resolved demands of  space by subsurface energy storage sites, especially in the highly utilised urban subsurface.

c) considering possible impacts on protected entities and the interaction with adjacent storage sites or other types of subsurface use.

4 | Preparing and testing modelling tools for the integration of geotechnical storage sites into the the energy supply and the definition of economically feasible scenarios of operation. Enhancement of the tools and methods for a large scael subsurface spatial planning scheme developed in ANGUS+.


Project partners:

  • Kiel University (CAU) - Coordination and sub-project "Geological modelling and parameterisation"
  • Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig (UFZ) - Sub-project "Geochemical and thermal Processes"
  • Flensburg University of Applied Sciences (HSF) - Sub-project "Simulation of individual power plants"
  • Europa-Universität Flensburg (EUF) - Sub-project "Modelling of energy grids and  future indicative trajectories"
  • Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) - Sub-project "Assessment of fault zones"


Project duration:

01/2017 – 12/2020


The project ANGUS II is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Project website:


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Analysis, Modelling and assessment if an intelligent and environmentally neutral geothermal long-term heat storage system

Work package: Modelling and Environmental Impacts

The IGLU project aims at the development of an environmentally neutral and economical solar collector supplied energy storage system in a modular construction for integration into heat supply-systems of new or already existing appartment or multi-family buildings as well as in industrial buildings. Main focus of the subproject „Modelling and Environmental Impacts“ is the development of a numerical coupled thermo-hydromechanical-chemical (THMC) model tool based on the open-source scientific code software OpenGeoSys for a simulation based design of the IGLU energy storage system. Numerical sensitivity analysis is used for an optimization of thermo-hydraulic material properties and geometries of the heat storage system with respect to efficiency and environmental impacts. The model also will be used for the dimensioning of the laboratory test facility as well as for the prognosis of possible impacts on the geochemical state of soil and groundwater in the vicinity of the storage system. Results of these studies will serve as a basis for the development of a guideline for environmental compatibility.


Project partners:

  • Institute for Geosciences, Kiel University
  • SCHEER Heizsysteme & Produktionstechnik GmbH
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ GmbH


Project duration:

 August 2014 - June 2018


German Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi)

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