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Talk Summary: Geothermal Roadmap for Germany

SPE RWTH Aachen held the very first talk "Geothermal Roadmap for Germany" which was presented by Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke, Director of Fraunhofer IEG.

The event discussed the future of geothermal energy as one of the renewable energy and the challenges they face.

About the speaker

Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke has been institute director of Fraunhofer IEG together with Prof. Mario Ragwitz since December 2019. Within Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Rolf Bracke coordinates research on the dimension of heat for the institutes of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance and the Cluster of Excellence Integrated Energy Systems.

As a full professor at Ruhr University Bochum, he holds the Department of Geothermal Energy Systems at Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. There, the geologist, who holds a doctorate and degree from RWTH Aachen University, sees himself as a bridge builder between the natural sciences and engineering. Previously, he held the professorship for Geothermal and Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Bochum University of Applied Sciences from 2002 to 2020 and was Vice President for Research between 2006 and 2009.

Rolf Bracke is intensively involved in the international scientific community. He was director of the International Geothermal Association (IGA) between 2013 and 2020 and is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Energy Research Alliance (Geothermal Program). He has led a variety of research projects on energy transition in the European and global space and advises international institutions such as the World Bank, the United Nations, Central American Integration System (SICA) or European institutions on energy issues.

His central research interests lie in the transformation of mining-related technologies in the development of climate-neutral energy systems. In 2020, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his work on structural change.

Couldn't attend the talk? Don't worry, here is the summary

Date: Thursday, April 28, 2022

Location: Ford-Generali-Saal on the top floor of Super C, Templergraben 57.

No. of participants: 40

Figure 1: Opening Speech by Prof. Wellmann (left) and followed with seminar session by Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke.

On April 28, the SPE RWTH Aachen Student Chapter had the pleasure to welcome Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke who is director of Fraunhofer IEG, a company that carries out research in the fields of integrated energy infrastructures, geothermal energy, and sector coupling for a successful energy transition. The session was opened by Prof. Florian Wellmann on behalf of the Applied Geoscience Department of RWTH Aachen and SPE RWTH Aachen Student Chapter, and continued by the seminar of Geothermal Roadmap for Germany by Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke to the students of Applied Geosciences, Geo-resource Management, SEG RWTH Aachen Chapter and other local and international SPE Student Chapters, and there are at least 40 participants attended the seminar.

Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke started his presentation by talking about the basic concept of hydrothermal systems and heat demand by sectors in Germany. Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke also explained Germany’s strategy to optimize geothermal potential in several critical sectors.

It will be such a big challenge for industrial electricity generation in Germany, as the geothermal system is identified as a dry rock system and the reservoirs are located at more depth. So, transitioning the utilization of oil wells for geothermal exploration and production is such a huge advantage to improve the effectivity and efficiency. Also, the urban heating demands may increase, so Germany needs to prepare the geothermal direct use in the near future.

Figure 2: Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke sharing about the Germany regional potential versus heat demand.

At the end of the presentation, a Q&A session was opened where attendees had the opportunity to ask questions directly to Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke. The enthusiasm of participants is high because it is demonstrated by many questions related to Geothermal operations and technical aspects. Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke answered and discussed all questions. On behalf of all students and the SPE Student Chapter at RWTH Aachen University, we would like to thank Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke and Fraunhofer IEG for providing valuable insights on Geothermal Roadmap for Germany and wish to have Prof. Dr. Rolf Bracke again in our SPE Student Chapter.

Figure 3: SPE RWTH Aachen board executives.

Written by Fikri Zain Karim, edited by Ryan Bobby Andika.

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