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The future of geo-energy: understanding the subsurface for safer energy production and storage
Convener: Suzanne Hangx  | Co-Convener: Alexandra Amann-Hildenbrand 
 / Attendance Thu, 27 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Global demand for energy is soaring, while CO2-induced climate change is a recognised issue. Securing future energy supply is becoming a concern at both the global and local scales, with more often targeting unconventional reservoirs or environmentally sensitive and densely populated, urban, areas for exploitation. However, energy production, removes the Earth’s subsurface from its natural equilibrium both chemically and physically. This frequently induces reservoir compaction, surface subsidence, induced (micro)seismicity, and other technical and societal issues.

At the same time, attempts are being undertaken to reduce CO2 emissions via a sustainable energy transition from high-carbon fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, towards cleaner energy production using geothermal energy and natural gas. The latter can potentially be combined with long-term CO2 storage in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs, saline aquifers or coal seams. To comply with fluctuating energy demands, energy storage in rock caverns, in the form of thermal energy, compressed air, natural gas or hydrogen, is a possibility. Though nuclear energy may provide a CO2-free alternative for fossil fuels or geothermal energy, it suffers from the need to safely store radioactive waste for very long periods of time in subsurface storage units. The understanding of the underlying physical and chemical processes, which control the behaviour of the subsurface, is of crucial importance for better understanding production-induced effects and mitigation options.

This session welcomes contributions with an experimental, or a combined experimental and modelling, basis for topics related to geo-energy production. A broad spectrum of mechanisms are of interest, ranging from fluid flow properties, to chemical processes and mechanical behaviour of rocks in systems, related to hydrocarbon or geothermal energy production, and energy, waste or fluid storage.