ThermoCluster - Heat generation from infrastructure projects and integration into decentralised low-temperature heating and cooling networks for plus-energy districts
Starting point / motivation
The use of geothermal energy from engineering structures and tunnels offers an environmentally friendly way of heating and cooling buildings in the area surrounding the tunnel building. The effectiveness and application limits must be determined on a fundamental level to be able to determine the technical and economic feasibility.
Due to its proximity to the city of Innsbruck, the Brenner Base Tunnel offers favorable boundary conditions for the use of the energy gained from the tunnel, as well as for the simulation of energy distribution in the city.
Contents and goals
The overall goal of this study can be defined as the integrative consideration of the geothermal potential of the Brenner base tunnel and the subsequent distribution of its produced heat to the end-consumer.
Due to a holistic view on the generation of heat, the extraction of heat and the distribution to the consumer, different geothermal utilization concepts can be investigated and evaluated technically as well as economically on the example of the Brenner Base tunnel.
- Survey of the technically usable geothermal energy of tunnels
- Evaluation of the energy-related utilization potential of tunnel heat
- Assessment of the feasibility of the available geothermal energy extraction methods (as shown in Fig. 1)
- Identification of technical and economic applications under consideration of the given boundary conditions using the Brenner Base Tunnel as an example
- Possibilities of heat distribution in the surrounding area of the tunnel portal and feeding into a local heating system
- Profitability, risk and potential analysis
The investigation provides precise information on the amount of thermal energy that can be extracted from the tunnel and whether it is economically feasible to extract and distribute this energy. The results will enable better conditions for future evaluations of existing tunnels and planned tunnel projects with regard to their potential benefit for climate-friendly heat generation.
With the knowledge gained, existing underground infrastructure projects could be retrofitted if necessary, but also tunnels that are currently in the planning stage could be adapted to create a symbiosis between the improvement of the traffic/transit situation and the creation of climate-friendly heat generation.
Thomas Geisler, Institute of Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling - Graz University of Technology
Project or cooperation partners
- AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Center for Energy
- Galleria di Base del Brennero – Brenner Basistunnel BBT SE
- Innsbrucker Kommunalbetriebe Aktiengesellschaft
- Geological Survey of Austria, Department of Hydrogeology and Geothermal Energy
- University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Institute of Applied Geology (IAG)
- University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Institute for Chemical and Energy Engineering (IVET)