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The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics


From Monday 29 August to Wednesday 31 August, the 1st “International Conference on Energy Geotechnics” will be held at Kiel University. Around 150 experts from over 26 countries are expected to participate and exchange opinions on geotechnical issues related with the energy transition. The conference is organised by Professor Frank Wuttke’s working group from the Institute of Geosciences at Kiel University. Specialist audience and interested members of the public can register for the conference online until 30 August 2016.

Over the past few years, in Schleswig-Holstein in particular, there has been a significant increase in the number of wind power sites. In the course of climate change and increasing energy consumption, these turbines make an important contribution to satisfy the energy demand as renewable energy sources.

“However, the behaviour of the geomaterials directly involved in the operation of such turbines, such as the effects of the buried underground high voltage cables (to transport the energy) on the loose sediments and rocks and the effects on the foundation they are built on are not yet completely understood and is one aspect of the subject of our ongoing research” said Wuttke.

The findings do not only affect the energy industry, but will also be playing a major role in future classical urban development projects as well as private households. Here in Kiel, a large number of long-distance heating pipes are currently being built, energy piles are being utilised for house construction and power cables are being laid underground in the course of the energy transportation. This raises the question as to how thermal energy can be transported and utilized efficiently.

This not only causes energy losses - the surrounding ground can be heated excessively and cause damage to the heat energy facilities. In addition, underground layers in cities, private households and industrial regions offer an enormous potential - which has not been previously unutilised - for energy storage.”

Because of the complex nature of the way thermal, hydromechanical and to a lower extent chemical processes affect the inter-relation between the ground and the energy storage or transportation facilities, Wuttke is convinced: “Basically, we won’t be able to fully understand the energy transition without Geotechnics.”

The application of the working group of Professor Frank Wuttke from Kiel University to host the1st international conference at the official organiser, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) was accepted. “The fact that we were awarded to host this privileged conference shows that we in Germany and in Schleswig-Holstein in particular have assumed a leading role in the energy transition. I envisage high potential and big opportunities for investors in the near future for Schleswig-Holstein in the renewable energy sector in general and especially in offshore wind parks” said Wuttke.

The programme for the three-day conference includes ten keynote lectures and 13 partly parallel sessions with presentations and discussions on the topic of “Energy Geotechnics”: from energy storage across to challenges for infrastructure and urban development, through to mathematical methods and experimental studies on material design. There will also be a poster exhibition in Kiel University’s Audimax foyer during the conference.

“We want to use this event to unite acadamic and industrial practitioners from various countries and disciplines actively involved in the energy geotechnics sector. Kiel is an excellent location for this international exchange, with its wide range of research institutes.”

Key facts:
What: 1st International Conference on Energy Geotechnics
When: Monday, 29 August, to Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Where: Audimax, Christian-Albrechts-Platz 2, 24118 Kiel, Germany

Media representatives who wish to report on the "1st International Conference on Energy Geotechnics" in Kiel are very welcome. The official language of the conference is English.
It will be organised by the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Technology Schleswig-Holstein.

Prof. Dr. Frank Wuttke
Institute of Geosciences
Tel.: +49 (0)431/880 -2840

Weitere Informationen:

Dr. Boris Pawlowski | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

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