News 2015

Micro-turbine prototype successfully tested
The team of the project DuoTurbo, conducted within the SCCER-SoE, proudly announces the delivery of its micro-turbine prototype, which was successfully tested on the HES-SO test rig. The new axial hydraulic machine ensures a lean manufacturing and installation on water utility networks and is the core technology for a range of standard energy recovery stations, which will be developed in this project. The potential for energy recovery in Swiss water utilities amounts to 50 GWh per year within the targeted power range of 5 to 25 kW. This represents 15% of the additional electricity production of small hydropower turbines according to the energy strategy 2050. The next year’s target of DuoTurbo is to manufacture and test its first product, which will be installed on the pilot site of Savièse (VS) in 2017. December 2015

New SCCER-SoE newsletter
Sign up for the new SCCER-SoE newsletter which is available in German and French and offers you an exclusive insight into current projects two to three times per year. You can also look back on past highlights and find out about important upcoming events. Click here for more information and to read the first issue of the newsletter. November 2015

Development of a new iso-kinetic turbine
The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and the Fondation The Ark will fund the new project “Iso-kinetic turbine for artificial waterways”. Within a 18-months-period, the project’s goal is to develop a prototype of a 1kW iso-kinetic turbine and install it in the tailrace channel of the hydropower plant in Lavey. The project will be led by HES-SO Valais-Wallis (Prof. Cécile Münch-Alligné) in collaboration with Stahleinbau GmbH and “Services industriels de Lausanne” (SiL). October 2015

Project posters and presentations ready for download
Did you miss our Annual Conference 2015 or want to catch up on a specific project? Click here to download a presentation held on the SCCER-SoE Annual Conference 2015 or here to download the latest project posters ordered by tasks. October 2015

First boreholes for the ISC Project at the Grimsel rock laboratory are drilled
For a few weeks, the Grimsel rock laboratory has been bustling due to the „In-situ Stimulation and Circulation“ project of the SCCER-SoE. Up to now, three boreholes have been drilled which together make up approximately 60 meters. Different kinds of tests (televiewer logging, overcoring, hydro fracturing etc.) are exercised in order to characterize in great detail the structure of the rock, including the location of fault zones, stress orientations, and much more. The next planned steps are the installation of the measurement system (in the beginning of 2016) and the carrying out of stimulations (in the middle of 2016). October 2015

First numerical simulations of supercritical geothermal reservoirs
Recently, scientists of the "Iceland Deep Drilling Project" discovered a reservoir with supercritical water at 450°C immediately above a 2 km deep magma body. This theoretically allows multiplying power production from geothermal wells from about 5 up to 35 MW. Samuel Scott, Thomas Driesner, and Phlipp Weis of the SCCER-SoE, ETH, and GFZ now elaborated numerical models and simulations to find out how, under what circumstances, and where such reservoirs possibly emerge. Click here to read their article which was just published in „Nature Communications“. August 2015

Register for the SCCER-SoE Annual Conference 2015
The second SCCER-SoE Annual Conference will be held at the University of Neuchâtel on September 10 and 11, 2015. Highlights of ongoing projects and prospects of future research will be presented. In addition, key representatives from politics, industry, and federal offices will illustrate their views on the future of HydroPower and GeoEnergy in Switzerland. Click here to read more about this event and to register yourself. July 2015

Research project agreement with NAGRA
The SCCER-SoE and NAGRA signed a research project agreement in order to improve the understanding of physical processes associated with geothermal reservoir creation. Until the end of 2017, the SCCER-SoE will devise extensive experiments in the rock laboratory of NAGRA’s Grimsel Test Site. The first is called “Insitu Stimulation and Circulation (ISC)”. June 2015

Dynamic water intake protects the environment
Up to now, water intakes feeding small hydropower plants are designed in a way that the residual flow is either constant or proportional to the incoming natural streamflow (both at a minimum level). Within the SCCER-SoE task 2.4, simulations of the AHEAD group at EPFL show that these policies are harmful for rivers at low discharge. In contrast, a dynamic, non-proportional water intake that may be adjusted to specific needs (for instance to favour higher rates of residual flow at low river discharge) would improve environmental conditions while preserving energy production (see figure). By including more comprehensive environmental indicators and enlarging the sample of real case studies, this issue will be further investigated. June 2015

Deep geothermal energy project in Haute-Sorne approved
Geo-Energie Suisse AG received the approval for its deep geothermal energy project in Haute-Sorne (Canton of Jura). Drilling will start in late 2017 and the stimulation phase to create a deep reservoir is expected in 2018. Following its roadmap, the SCCER-SoE will be closely associated to the Haute-Sorne project and will support it with simulations, modeling expertise, stress analyses, and methodologies validated in the deep underground lab at the Grimsel Test Site. June 2015

New Ambizione Energy project on risk governance
Congratulations to Evelina Trutneyvte, Senior Researcher at the SCCER-SoE Risk Governance team at ETH Zurich for receiving a SNF Ambizione Energy grant for the next three years! The project is called “Risk Governance of Electricity Portfolios (RIGOROuS): Cross-technology and spatial tradeoffs of multiple risks” (read the summary here). It aims to find socially viable ways to implement the Swiss Energy Strategy 2050 by developing, testing and applying two interactive tools to measure public, stakeholder, and expert preferences concerning cross-technology and spatial risk tradeoffs within Swiss electricity portfolios. May 2015

The Alps without glaciers
A major step towards an accurate Swiss wide map of glacier thicknesses has been achieved: In April 2015, a crystal clear image of the bed of the Otemma glacier in Valais has been taken during an airborne radar survey (click here to see the difference between the new and old system). After one year of joint research by the Hydraulics-Hydrology-Glaciology division (VAW) and the Exploration and Environmental Geophysics group (EEG) at ETH Zurich, the new and improved helicopter ice penetrating radar system was successfully tested. The overall goal of the glacier inventory project is to create a Swiss wide map of the relief of the Alps without glaciers respectively of glacier thicknesses. It is funded by the SCCER-SoE and the Swiss Geophysical Commission (SGPK). April 2015

New sediment transport measurement system
Sediment transport related to hydropower plants has always been a big issue and good data about it was rare. Now, the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL is constructing a new measurement system in the Albula river at Tiefencastel above the hydropower dam Solis. It is expected to be put into operation in spring 2015.
Read more about the new system in the Albula river in this news article of „Die Südostschweiz“ (only in German). March 2015

Man-made earthquakes "moved" the Schatzalp
More than 160 seismologists, geophysicists, engineers, geologists, and social scientists gathered in Davos for the first Schatzalp workshop on “Induced Seismicity”. The workshop was organized by the Swiss Seismological Service in collaboration with the Swiss Competence Centre for Energy Supply (SCCER-SoE), the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), and the Research Forum Physics of the Earth (FKPE). March 2015

Two new Tenure Track Assistant Professors
The ETH Board appointed two new Tenure Track Assistant Professors in the field of Geoenergies. Both, Brice Lecampion and Marie Violay, will be working at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) at EPFL, Switzerland. Read more about the appointments and the new Professors. March 2015

„Knowledge and Technology Transfer“ group
The different SCCERs and associated competence centers have formed the "Knowledge and Technology Transfer" group. The goal is to improve the communication and exchange of experiences among the different parties. January 2015