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Tapping geothermal energy in inner cities

Geothermal plant systems can be cheaply integrated in tunnels

When new tunnel structures are constructed in inner cities, this provides an excellent opportunity to also tap geothermal energy parallel to this and with little expenditure and effort. This energy can be used, for example, for heating and cooling buildings.

Energy from the underground metro tunnel: The tubes for utilising the geothermal energy are embedded in the tunnel wall. © Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG

The BINE Projektinfo brochure “Air-conditioning with geothermal energy from underground metro tunnels” (09/2013) presents a research project in Stuttgart. The aim is to research the effects of extracting heat from the surrounding ground.

Two ten-metre-long tunnel sections were equipped with absorbers during the construction, whereby the tubing was installed on the shotcrete used on the outer tunnel lining and embedded in the in-situ concrete used for the inner lining. Both absorbers are connected to a heat pump. Using this system, the researchers are simulating various extraction profiles. The measurements show that the temperature of the ground is only influenced up to a distance of eight metres. The scientists are also investigating the influence of groundwater and the tunnel air on the output of the system.

The measurements have been conducted by the Institutes for Building Energetics (IGE) and Geotechnical Engineering (IGS) at the University of Stuttgart. The test section was installed on the new tunnel built by Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG for its underground metro Line 6.

The BINE Projektinfo brochure, which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at or by calling +49 (0)228 92379-0.

Press contact
Uwe Milles
About BINE Information Service
Energy research for practical applications
The BINE Information Service reports on energy research topics, such as new materials, systems and components, as well as innovative concepts and methods. The knowledge gained is incorporated into the implementation of new technologies in practice, because first-rate information provides a basis for pioneering decisions, whether in the planning of energy-optimised buildings, increasing the efficiency of industrial processes, or integrating renewable energy sources into existing systems.

About FIZ Karlsruhe

FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure is a not-for-profit organization with the public mission to make sci-tech information from all over the world publicly available and to provide related services in order to support the national and international transfer of knowledge and the promotion of innovation.
Our business areas:
• STN International – the world’s leading online service for research and patent information in science and technology
• KnowEsis – innovative eScience solutions to support the process of research in all its stages, and throughout all scientific disciplines
• Databases and Information Services – Databases and science portals in mathematics, computer science, crystallography, chemistry, and energy technology

FIZ Karlsruhe is a member of the Leibniz Association (WGL) which consists of 87 German research and infrastructure institutions.

Rüdiger Mack | idw
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