Project Description

Exploring the potential for renewable heating

GeoTief is a research project for surveying the geological conditions in the eastern part of Vienna. The focus here is scientifically investigating the potential for environmentally-friendly heat from subterranean reservoirs of hot water. For this purpose, seismic readings were taken on the earth’s surface using 16,000 sensors, a process which was completed in 2018. The complete set of data collected from the readings is now being scientifically evaluated, with a view to producing a 3D model of Vienna’s geology by 2021. The tests cost around EUR 5 million.

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Project details

GeoTief researches and surveys the eastern part of Vienna in a scientifically sound and using the very latest technology, creating the basis for decisions regarding the potential for harnessing geothermal energy in the future. Numerous companies and scientific institutions are involved in the project. The entire process is transparent to the public, with the local population being directly informed about the readings.

The potential of green heating from geothermal energy, i.e. using subterranean reservoirs of hot water, can be assumed based on experience and the data of recent decades. The existing district heating network in Vienna could be made even more efficient and sustainable as a result. The aim here is to increase the share of renewable energies used to supply district heating. Geothermal energy – as a form of energy capable of meeting base loads – could play a major role here, reducing the dependency of the City of Vienna on fossil fuels and increasing security of supply.

Seismic readings have been taken all over the world for decades to explore subterranean geological structures and rock layers. The subsurface can be examined in the same way as echo sounding by using seismic readings, which are taken exclusively at the surface. Vibrations are sent deep underground below roads and pathways.

The signal is reflected underground and recorded by sensors that are positioned near the measuring vehicles. These seismic readings can be used to prepare an image of the subsurface, providing information about the location and the thickness of rock layers underground that may potentially hold water.

The results are scientifically evaluated using the latest computer technology and the specialised knowledge of experts and merged with previously known data.

Karl Gruber

The aim of the project is to create a basis for deciding whether and to what extent geothermal energy can also be used for Vienna in the future. Ideally, the heat from deep underground could in future supply hundreds of thousands of households in Vienna with environmentally-friendly heating and hot water. This would make a significant contribution to efforts to reduce the level of CO2 emissions in Vienna.”

Karl Gruber, General Manager of Wien Energie

Further reading

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