Pilot urban areas in the MUSE project

The developed methods and approaches for resource investigation and assessment of possible conflicts of use associated with shallow geothermal energy (SGE), will be tested and evaluated together with input from local stakeholders in 14 urban pilot areas (located in 13 different countries). These areas represent different geological and climatic conditions, at various stages of SGE industry maturity.

Shallow Geothermal Energy, in this project, covers the uppermost tens to hundreds of meters (<400 m) of the subsurface. The project workflow abides by a process circle (Fig 1) which will consist of the following main stages:

  • Stage 1 covers compilation of methods and workflows for providing key geoscientific data and creating strategies for efficient and sustainable SGE use. The work includes the exploration and monitoring of the subsurface, assessing, processing and mapping of key data, as well as creation, evaluation and validation of static (e.g. geological) and dynamic (process-oriented) models.

  • Stage 2 of the project will focus on the implementation of joint methods and workflows in 14 pilot areas across Europe. All of them represent urban areas affected by different cultural, climatic and geological conditions, legal settings, different supply and infrastructure as well as different thematic focuses of the proposed investigations.

  • Stage 3, the final stage of MUSE, will cover a feedback round from the pilot areas to the initially compiled catalogues of methods, workflows and concepts.

Figure 1: Main stages of the MUSE project.

Table 1: List of urban pilot areas.

ParticipantFact-SheetPilot case study urban area
# 09 – GeoZSFS-01Ljubljana, Slovenia
# 11 – SGUFS-02Linköping, Sweden
# 10 – IGMEFS-03Zaragoza, Spain
# 04 – HGS-CGSFS-04Zagreb, Croatia
# 16 – GEUSFS-05Aarhus, Denmark
# 03 – ICGCFS-06Girona, Catalonia, Spain
# 05 – CGSFS-07Prague, Czech Republic
# 01 – GBAFS-08Vienna, Austria
# 02-BGS-UKRIFS-09aCardiff, UK
# 02 – BGS-UKRIFS-09bGlasgow, UK
# 10 – SGIDSFS-10Bratislava, Slovakia
# 07-GSIFS-11Cork, Ireland
# 08-RBINS-GSBFS-12Brussels, Belgium
# 13-PIG-PIBFS-13Warsaw, Poland

The figure 2. shows the 14 pilot areas contributing to the project. Below the map, 14 fact sheets of each of the pilot areas are presented for download (PDF format). These intend to provide overview information for each area, including geological and hydrogeological conditions,  climatological and geographical setting, the current situation on SGE use and the economic and boundary conditions of the GSHP market, and a summary of the foreseen activities. The fact sheets represent living documents that will be updated twice more during the project.

Figure 2: Pan-European map with the location of the pilot urban areas in the MUSE project

Fact Sheet 01. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana pilot area is one of the most urbanized and developed areas in Slovenia and at the moment the share of geothermal energy use for heating and cooling is very low. The pilot case study covers areas inside the city in which conflicts between open loop systems and water wells may be expected in the future. The aim is to analyze potential hazards and interferences, and to integrate these aspects into strategies and actions for integrated groundwater management.

Fact Sheet 02. Linköping city, Sweden

Linköping is the fifth largest urban area in Sweden. The heating demand is mainly supplied by a district heating system powered primarily by a energy from waste plant, with a heat capacity of 510 GWh corresponding to the heating of 25 000 houses. The scope of the pilot is to investigate the possibility to build a large Borehole Thermal Energy Storage schemes, to shift 100 GWh heat from summer to winter. The composition of the bedrock mass and groundwater conditions will be evaluated.

Fact Sheet 03. Zaragoza, Spain

Fact Sheet 04. Zagreb, Croatia

Situated in the central part of the Ebro valley in the city of Zaragoza, NE Spain, the pilot case study acts as an exemplar for urban areas in a relatively warm Mediterranean climate. In this area, an urban unconfined aquifer exists with different water extractions uses: water supply, recreational use and open-loop heat pump systems. The focus is set on the assessment of SGE resources and possible conflicts of use, groundwater monitoring, and development of tailored management strategies.

The pilot case study in the City of Zagreb will focus on the influence of open loop groundwater heat pump systems at two locations. The systems are abstracting and reinjecting water form/into a shallow aquifer which is also used for public water supply. A monitoring scheme will be established using these wells and nearby observation boreholes to determine groundwater level drawdowns and temperature changes in the aquifer to evaluate possible impacts.

Fact Sheet 05. Aarhus, Denmark

This pilot area comprises the municipal area of Aarhus, and the aim of the study is to investigate the possibilities of integrating SGE and energy storage in a central heating system. The work will focus on the mapping of potential sites for storage and extraction of heat; the potential conflicts; prioritizing possible sites in relation to expected yield and proximity to the existing grid; and the integration of the results into the local energy plans.

Fact Sheet 06. Girona, Catalonia, Spain

Covering the urban area of Girona city, this pilot case study acts as a model for urban areas of an immature SGE market. The activities will focus on data collection, ground characterization, modelling and mapping of SGE resources. It is planned to monitor groundwater levels and the ground thermal regime, and to perform additional TRT measurements. These data will be used for developing future strategies and action plans for SGE development.

Fact Sheet 07. Prague, Czech Republic

The pilot case study of the urban area of the city of Prague acts as a model for urban areas of medium-developed SGE market. It has the aim to investigate and evaluate existing SGE use, including examples of good and bad practice. Special attention will be paid to conflicts of subsurface use. Further activities will focus on the development of general management strategies and specific actions in cooperation with the city administration.

Fact Sheet 08. Vienna, Austria

The urban area of Vienna is the pilot case study area that acts as an exemplar for a well-developed SGE market. The planned activities will focus on the assessment of SGE resources and possible conflicts of use due to overexploitation. Emphasis will be put on ensuring an efficient and sustainable shallow geothermal management in a prominent shallow aquifer, and on future strategies to include SGE into public heating and cooling grids.

Fact Sheet 09a. Cardiff, Wales, UK

Cardiff is the Capital city of Wales. The pilot case studies fall within the Cardiff Urban GeoObservatory and activities mainly focus on monitoring impacts around open-loop geothermal systems located in a shallow Glacio-fluvial gravel aquifer. Planned activities will focus on aquifer characterization, groundwater and thermal monitoring and modelling, resource and conflict maps as a basis for future planning, management and evidence-based clean energy policy  development.

Fact Sheet 09b. Glasgow, Scotland, UK

The east end of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is the location for the UK Geoenergy Observatories ‘Glasgow Geothermal Energy Research Field Site’. The focus of this pilot case study is to analyze the feasibility of exploiting a network of abandoned flooded coal mines for seasonal cavern thermal energy storage (CTES) and the works will focus on monitoring and subsurface modelling in order to assess the storage efficiency of the CTES test site with regard to mine–groundwater interaction.

Fact Sheet 10. Bratislava, Slovakia

The pilot case study is situated in the urban area of Bratislava, in the Slovak Republic, where the SGE market is growing. There is still a gap in management and monitoring of the SGE sources (its influence on the groundwater warming and the urban heat island). The activities will focus on the monitoring of thermal, hydraulic and chemical regime of shallow aquifers in order to evaluate possible conflicts of use between drinking water supply and SGE use.

Fact Sheet 11. Cork, Ireland

The pilot case study is situated in the city of Cork, in south-west Ireland. There are established open loop systems in a glacio-fluvial sand and gravel aquifer next to the River Lee. The activities will focus on geological characterization of the shallow subsurface below the city, integrating data on existing SGE use and subsurface and groundwater properties. The aim is to create SGE resources and conflict maps as a basis for future planning and management of SGE use.

Fact Sheet 12. Brussels, Belgium

This pilot area is represented by the entire Brussels Region (RBC). In cooperation with the partner #12 (TNO), different exploration methods like passive seismic monitoring, thermal diffusivity and conductivity scanning on rock samples, TRT measurements and groundwater surveys will be used for characterizing the shallow subsurface below Brussels with regard to SGE use. The achieved underground model will finally be used for generating resource maps.

Fact Sheet 13. Warsaw, Poland

The Pilot area is located in Warsaw, the largest city in Poland, where the SGE market is poorly-developed. The focus in this area will include preparation of a GIS database, gathering of borehole data, geophysical investigations and the acquisition of new thermal properties data in the field and lab. A 2D/3D model will be developed and calibrated which will be used to create geothermal potential maps, and a spatial layer of environmental conflicts and hazards.