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Research Projects


Geothermal energy is the thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, but has historically been limited to areas near tectonic plate boundaries. Recent technological advances have dramatically expanded the range and size of viable resources opening a potential for widespread exploitation. The Earth's geothermal resources are theoretically more than adequate to supply humanity's energy needs, but only a very small fraction may be profitably exploited. Drilling and exploration for deep resources is very expensive due to the fact that the exploration of potential places of location, the installation of the geothermal plant and finally the production of energy is full of problems and risks. The reason for this is that not till the bore is performed it becomes clear how the geological, thermal and mechanical consistence of the underground is. By modeling and simulation the occurring processes and parameters, mathematics helps to minimize these risks.




(A project of the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, project executing organisation: PTJ Jülich)

The research project SPE develops novel concepts for the use of potential methods for the initial assessment during the planning and implementation of geothermal projects. Potential methods based on an integrative synopsis of satellite, airborne and terrestrial data are essential for the exploration and prospection of geothermal projects for areas with mining-related cavities or very dense construction, which make the use of reflection seismic measurements more difficult or impossible. In addition, they can also serve as an initial assessment of the possible potential for geothermal energy in regions with little other data available. In view of this, the research project SPE has the aim to develope geomathematical methods and technical concepts for geothermal exploration. Methods and techniques are developed prototypically and perspectively and tested on real data that provide decision-making aids to determine adequate aquifers in regions with the anthropogenic characteristics described above. The target group of the developed scientific results and software in the project are essentially local energy suppliers and engineering firms, which generally have no access to computer clusters for their assessment. For this reason, the models are intended to be designed for use on common computer hardware.

The project management and realization is carried out by the CBM GmbH - Gesellschaft für Consulting, Business und Management mbH, Bexbach

Start of the project: 01.05.16




(A project of the Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, project executing organisation: PTJ Jülich)

The realization of deep drilling holes for exploitation of deep geothermal reservoirs is pecuniary very extensive and furthermore full of uncertainties. On the basis of geothermic systems realized in the past on knows that the exploration risk is about 70% to 85%.Success of the exploration is given if the minimum temperature and the minimum discharge are found in the exploration drilling. The actual exploration risk is given by a geologically founded part and a part induced by the available data and the level of examination. The GEOFÜND project pursues two sub-goals: On the one hand the methods of risk assessment used in expertises for explorations risks are revised and expanded. On the other hand an enhanced mathematical model for geological characterization of the underground is developed.

Start of the project: 15.11.12

Involved members in GEOFÜND:

Prof. Dr. Willi Freeden

  • Project Supervision

Dipl.-Math./M.Sc. Christian Blick

  • Seismic exploration
  • Multiscale methods for seismic post processing

Dr. Helga Nutz

  • Coordination and documentation of the software implementation (integration of the tools for risk analysis and for the geophysical models)
  • Coordination of a uniform web presence

Project partners:

  • Dir. u. Prof. R. Schulz, Leibnitz-Institut für Angewandte Geophysik (LIAG)
  • Prof. Dr. R. Korn, Frauenhofer-Institut für Techno- und Wirtschaftsmathematik (ITWM Kaiserslautern, FhG)
  • Dr. R. Kahnt, G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH (GEOS)
  • Dipl.-Ing T. Neu, Grünwald Equity Geothermie GmbH (GEG)
  • RA/MBA S. Jacob & Dipl.-Geol. M. Tönnis, Münchner Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (MR)


Other involved members in geothermal research:

Dipl.-Math./Dipl.-Phys Matthias Augustin

  • Porous Media
  • Fluid-Solid-Interaction
  • Methods of Fundamental Solution
  • Radial Basis Functions
  • Stress field simulation

Dipl.-Math. Sandra Möhringer

  • Seismics in Geothermal Research



(Satellite-) Modelling of the Earth's Magetic Field:

Althoug invisible, the magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurabel impact on everday live. The magnetic field protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles caused by solar winds. Strong solar storms have the potential to cause power and communication blackouts on Earth as well as damage orbiting satellites. Further on, the magnetic field is in a permanent state of flux. Magnetic north wanders, and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so that a compass would point south instead of north. Moreover, the strength of the magnetic field constantly changes - and is currently showing signs of significant weakening. This shows the complexety of the problem of modelling the Earth's magnetic field as well as its importance.

Involved members:

Dr. Christian Gerhards

  • Modelling of the Earth's crustal magnetic field
  • Modelling of ionospheric currents
  • Multiscale methods via locally supported wavelets



Forest Fire Spreading

(A project of the Forschungsanstalt für Waldökologie und Forstwirtschaft, project executing organisation: Kompetenzzentrum für Klimawandelfolgen Rheinland-Pfalz)

The climate change also effects on forests: on the one hand there will be more susceptible systems (e.g., bright pinewoods on dry locations),on the other hand we have different impacts (e.g., lower rainfall during growing periods). Because of this, a lot of woodland will be endangered by forest fires in the future. Thus, it is very important to make predictions about how forest fires expand to enhance prevention concerning forest protection and firefighting. Therefore, we have a look at the interdependencies which influence forest fires. By reason of the complexity of these activities mathematical models are needed. To model the processes we apply a physical model, where chemical reactions as well as heat and mass transfers are considered. This leads to a convection-diffusion-reaction problem which is not stationary and non-linear. The problem will be solved numerically and finally simulated for different settings.

Start of the project: 01.03.11

Involved members:

Dipl.-Math. Sarah Eberle

  • Forest Fire Spreading



Climatology of Thunderstorms in Rheinland-Pfalz

The task of the project is the differentiation of types of thunderstorms in line and cluster storms. Based on measurements of the positions of lightning strikes during a thunderstorm, we want to calculate a line of best fit which in turn gives us information about the type of thunderstorm. In case of a line storm, the calculated line of best fit will represent the storm front and the distance of the lightning strikes to the line of best fit will be comparatively small. In case of a cluster storm, the line of best fit will be located arbitrary in the region of the thunderstorm and the distance to the lightning strikes should be greater than in the case of a line storm.

Involved members:

B.Sc. Hauke Burschäpers

  • Approximation theory