Harnessing Subsurface Treasures
The alpine foreland basins encompass a wide variety of natural resources and possible reservoirs deep underground, so-called geo-potentials, which are becoming more and more important in light of the energy turnaround. The more than 5000 m deep "Molasse" basins offer a huge potential for the use of environmentally friendly technologies, such as geothermal energy. They can be used as underground reservoirs for natural gas or as a buffer for climate-dependent renewable energies. One problem is that there is frequently insufficient knowledge of the precise underground structures to allow for an efficient and sustainable use. Moreover, these structures often extend across national borders, requiring a transnationally coordinated approach.
Project aims and fields of work
The EU-funded GeoMol project (Assessing Subsurface Potentials of the Alpine Foreland Basins for Sustainable Planning and Use of Natural Resources) focuses on resolving these problems and has taken it upon itself to meet the following objectives:
- Assessing the geo-potentials in the alpine foreland depressions that extend to the north of the Alps from Savoy to Vienna and in the south from Piemont to Venice for better recognizing possible geological hazards and determining any possible impact and mutual interference during use
- Obtaining cross-border information relating to the underground geological structure and assessing the geo-potentials based on uniform criteria
- Developing three-dimensional models of the underground structures for better identifying risk areas where a utilization of any geo-potential is to be excluded
- Introducing harmonized methods, criteria and guidelines to allow for fast transnational decision-making processes
Obtaining a comprehensive, cross-border understanding of the alpine foreland basins represents a first step towards further expanding renewable energies and makes an important contribution for ensuring a sustainable supply of energy.
The results from the GeoMol project are important for the following participants:
- Stakeholders specializing in the fields of geological sciences
- Policy-makers and decision-makers representing business and industry interests
- Interested members of the general public
BayFOR as a partner
BayFOR already supported the consortium during the application phase, assisting both with communication within the consortium and with preparing the application documents. As subcontractor, BayFOR is involved in the project management for the entire duration of the project.
GeoMol was launched in September of 2012 with funds from the “Alpine Space” INTERREG-IV-B programme amounting to EUR 2.40 million European Regional Development Funds. The project runs over a 34-month period, ending in June of 2015.
The GeoMol consortium comprises a total of 14 project partners with Dr. Gerold Diepolder from the Bavarian Environment Agency in Augsburg serving as project coordinator.
Office of the State Government of Upper Austria (LandOö)
Bavarian Environment Agency (LfU)
Bureau of Geological and Mining Research (BRGM)
Geological Survey of Austria (GBA)
Geological Survey of Slovenia (GeoZS)
Institute for Environmental Protection and Research – Italian Geological Survey (ISPRA)
State Authority for Geology, Mineral Resources and Mining Baden-Wuerttemberg (LGRB)
Regionalverband Bodensee-Oberschwaben (RVBO)
Emilia-Romagna Region, Geological, Seismic and Soil Survey (RER-SGSS)
Regione Lombardia – Territorial and Urban Planning, Directorate General (RLB)
State of Geneva, Service Industrielles (SIG)
Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BfE)
Swiss Geological Survey, Federal Office of Topograpy (swisstopo)
Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg (TU BAF)