SuperC-Project: Deep Geothermal Energy

The SuperC-Project is a demonstration scheme of the GZB - supporting RWTH Aachen University; members of the scientific board of the GZB participated in this endeavour.

RWTH Aachen University: Deep Geothermal Probe for the SuperC-Building

Project Participants:
Prof. Dr. Axel Preuße
Prof. Dr. Niemann-Delius
Dr. Christoph Herzog
Dr. Martin Karad

The GZB supporting RWTH Aachen University with its Institute for Mine Surveying Subsidence Damage and Mining Geophysics under the management of Prof. Dr. A Preuße develops for its new student service building denotes SuperC a concept for geothermal heating and cooling.

The project management of the deep dore hole was conducted by the Institute for Mining III directed by Prof. Dr. Niemann-Delius. In the run-up to the construction the deep bore hole was sunk and completed to a geothermal probe adjacent to the SuperC.

After approximately four month after the start at the 18.07.2004 the final depth of 2,544 meter was reached. In the middle of the city a ambitious project was realised: the geothermal drilling "RWTH-1". The last meters of the bore hole deliverd a core for accompanying geological research. This accompanying research was conducted by geoscientific institutes of the RWTH Aachen Universtiy and the Federal Geological Service.

In the outer steel pipe of the probe cold water flow into the depths, is warmed until it reaches the lowest point and is returned through an insulated inner pipe to the surface. Due to the temperature difference of the stone and the probe's water a heat transferring process is excited. This means that heat flows from the adjacent rock towards the bore hole. After several years a constant temperature gradient occurs in a radius of less then 250m. This gradient ensures a continuative heat afflux and a stable supply of the SuperC building.

Within the SuperC building the discharged and up to 70°C ( 158°F) warm water flows during the heating period through collectors, ceiling and floor heating systems (Cascade). In summer times the thermal power of the bore hole ensures the cooling of SuperC by the utilistion by an adsorption chiller.

After the water has transferred its heat to the processe it is reinjected to the probe (closed system).

Next to the common characteristics of a deep bore hole the SuperC project embodieds  further specialties.  As the activities were realised around the clock in the middle of the cit, noise control and therewith the residents were in the focus of the project management's work.

After reaching the final depth the last drilling section was completly tubed and cemented so that the hole was ready for a geothermal probe.


The SuperC project demonstrates the ecological advantages of geothermal energy for large buildings. The projected plant reduces carbon emissions by 90% and is independetly of its site reproducable. Approximately 80% of the heating and cooling demand are projected to be supplied by the geothermal gain, corresponding to 200 one-family houses. The RWTH avoids a carbon emission exceeding 300t annually, by desisting from the combustion of fossil fuel such as oil, natural gas and coal.

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