GEOTHERM 2 Geothermal energy integration in urban systems: modelling and optimisation

Type: Semester project (10 credits) / Master project (30 credits)

Period: 2016 Spring (will be offered also in 2016 Fall)

Assistant: Stefano Moret


Geothermal energy, from low-enthalpy resources to high depth Enhanced Geothermal System
(EGS) applications, is a widely available renewable energy source. Nonetheless, despite its
potential, this resource isn’t highly exploited to date, mainly due to high investment costs and
associated risks, especially when it comes to EGS.
The IPESE research group is active in the analysis of urban energy systems with the application
of modelling and optimisation techniques in order to find the best ways to fulfill the energy
requirements of a urban energy system in an efficient, clean and cost-effective way.
GEOTHERM II is a project aiming at assessing the potential of deep geothermal energy (EGS)
in the energy future of Switzerland. The IPESE research group is contributing to this effort
by evaluating the possible integration of geothermal energy within Swiss urban systems, with
a first case study in the city of Lausanne


  • Characterization of heating demand in cities: methodology development and application.
  • Evaluation of data clustering methodologies.
  • Development of detailed urban system model.
  • Urban system optimization: energy strategy recommendation for the urban system.
  • Optional: Characterisation of the key uncertainties involved.
  • Optional: Integration of geothermal energy in industrial processes (CO2 capture, integration with biomass).
  • Optional: evaluation of the geothermal energy storage option.


  • Characterization of heating demand in cities: this task concerns the development of a GIS (Geographic Information System) model of the heating requirement in cities. Development of a methodology to define the yearly profiles of heating demand based on the available data for the buildings. Comparison of various approaches (heating signature, building simulation,…) with real data.
  • Spatial and time clustering: spatial and temporal resolution can highly increase the size of the optimization problem. Review and evaluation of spatial and time clustering methodologies.
  • Integration of GIS data and yearly demand profiles in an existing urban system model. Case study is the urban system of Lausanne.
  • Optimization and results analysis. Presentations of key outcomes to the City of Lausanne


Desired skills are:

  • Good knowledge of thermodynamics and energy conversion systems (EPFL courses: Thermo I/II, Energy conversion, Advanced Energetics, or equivalent).
  • Ecoinvent database, LCA.
  • Programming skills: scripting (Matlab, Lua,…), optimization (Modeling and Optimisation of Energy Systems course, linear programming), AMPL.
  • GIS (Geographical Information System).
  • English, French languages.

How to apply:

If interested, please take contact with Stefano Moret attaching your CV and transcript of records (Bachelor’s and Master’s). The project formulation is thought for a Master thesis (30 ECTS) and it is adapted based on the interests of the student. Subparts of this project could be addressed in the framework of a semester project (10 ECTS). Ideally, the candidate will then continue the work over a longer period of time, possibly another semester project and/or a Master thesis.


As the IPESE research group is now located in Sion, students might need to commute. A travel expense compensation of 1600 CHF(Master project) or 600 CHF(Semester project) will be given to students. The frequency of travel to Sion will be agreed with the project supervisor.


[1] S. Moret, L. Gerber, F. Amblard, E. Peduzzi and F. Maréchal. Geothermal Energy and Biomass Integration in Urban Systems: a Case Study. 40th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA, 2015.