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Laloui Research Group

The latest news from the EPFL’s Geomechanics Group

 June 2022

It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through the year. The team has been busy with many conferences and other events, sharing the results of our research with their peers and a wider audience. Our spin-offs and start-ups have been busy too, as has our Director Professor Laloui. This brief email shares some of the highlights.

Prof. Laloui awarded the Honoris Causa

The Laloui Group Director, Professor Lyesse Laloui has been awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Heriot-Watt University

Enerdrape wins again

The Laloui Group project, Enerdrape continues to go from strength to strength winning the Prix SUD Sustainable Startup Award and the PERL Award for Best Company

New Innovation Seed Grant for InSituStreTech Project

Laloui Group Carbon Capture and Storage project wins EPFL innovation grant.

Medusoil target global expansion

With a recent order for 4 tons of soil additives successful delivered, LMS spin-off Medusoil is now turning its sights on the global market.

Upcoming events – XXVII Italian National Congress

Prof. Laloui will be delivering the keynote address at the 27th National Conference of Geotechnics in Calabria, Italy on the 13th of July.

April 2022

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2022!
Its been a busy start to 2022 for the Laloui Group as we make up for lost time over the last two years. Conferences and other events are now back on the agenda and we welcome a host of new faces to our team. Some of the highlights of the year so far include Prof. Laloui winning and presenting the Vienna Terzaghi Lecture for 2022, new projects and partnerships with Amberg Engineering, ETH Zurich and the Mont Terri Project and an award nomination for our Enerdrape team. We even have a video showcasing our work in 2021. There’s a real buzz around the group at the moment – so happy reading.

Prof. Laloui delivers the prestigious Vienna Terzaghi Lecture

The Vienna Terzaghi Lecture 2022 has been awarded to, and presented by, Professor Lyesse Laloui of EPFL at this year’s Austrian Geotechnical Conference on the 19th of April. 

2021 in review

We achieved some amazing things in 2021. We’ve put together some of the highlights in this short video. Enjoy!

Annual Report 2021

Despite many academic challenges stemming from the pandemic, our annual report released in December shows that the Laloui Group continues to develop the research and tools required to deliver innovative and sustainable engineering solutions for the 21st century.



Professor Laloui ranked in the Top 1000

Our Director, Prof. Laloui has been ranked in the Top 1000 amongst engineering and technology scientists in the world.

Enerdrape Prix SUD

The Laloui Group project, Enerdrape continues to go from strength to strength again making the finals of yet another innovation award. Vote for Margaux in the Prix SUD 2022.



A new Innosuisse project

A new Innosuisse project with Amberg Engineering exploring the interaction between the geothermal and ventilation systems in transport tunnels gets underway.

Mont Terri and ETH

LMS joins ETH Zurich in a new partnership at the Mont Terri Project.


ICEGT 2022

The Laloui Group was well represented with a team of 8 attending the 2nd International Conference on Energy Geotechnics. Prof. Laloui led the way delivering the keynote address of the opening plenary of the event.

EURAD workshop

Team members from the Laloui Group presented our progress on the “Mechanistic understanding of gas transport in clayey materials.” Hosted by the European Joint Programme on Radioactive Waste Management (EURAD), the 3-day progress workshop in Grenoble, France saw representatives from across Europe provide progress updates. It’s great to be part of this important work.


Being 18 in today’s world makes me hopeful

Meet our youngest team member Natacha. Her inspiring story is what the Laloui Group is all about.


Energy 2050

Our work on Nuclear Waste Disposal technologies was featured in EPFL’s Dimensions Magazine.


Reach for the sun: the bacteria way

Group Senior Researcher Dr. Dimitrios Terzis delivers an absorbing TEDx talk on nature-inspired engineering and construction materials, direct from our BioGeos project.


Upcoming events

Northwestern Sustainability Summit

Prof. Laloui will be presenting at the Earth-Human Interactions: Sustainability and Development Summit held at Northwestern University, Illinois on 26th of May.


The 20th ICSMGE

The quadrennial conference of the ISSMGE will be held this May in Sydney, Australia. This is an important event for anyone working in the field of geotechnical engineering and our team will be there in force.


XXVII Italian National Congress

Prof. Laloui will be delivering the keynote address at the 27th National Conference of Geotechnics in Calabria, Italy on the 13th of July.


Team news

Team retreat 2022

After spending so long apart due to COVID19 restrictions, we seized the opportunity to get together at the start of the year for the chance to meet new team members and get reacquainted. After a visit to the famous Château de Chillon, we travelled to the ski region of Leysin for some tobogganing fun followed by dinner in an igloo. It was a real chance to bond again after long periods of isolation.

December 2021

Welcome to our end-of-year update for 2021!
The last 4 months here at the Laloui Research Group have been very productive and, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, we continue to deliver world-class innovation, research and education. Enjoy some of our latest highlights including: the recognition of Prof. Laloui as a leader in his field as the award-winning presenter of the Vienna Terzaghi Lecture 2022; developments in our spin-off geo-energy company Enderdrape, that continues to go from strength to strength; an inside look at our CO2 sequestration lab; as well as a spotlight on some of our recent media appearances. As we look optimistically towards 2022, we’d like to wish you all a very happy festive season and a wonderful new year.


Professor Laloui to deliver the prestigious Vienna Terzaghi Lecture

Our heartiest congratulations to Professor Laloui who has been awarded the Vienna Terzaghi Lecture for 2022. The combined lecture and award is named in honor of Karl von Terzaghi, who is considered the founding father of soil mechanics. Prof. Laloui will present the latest research from our BIOGEOS project titled “Tailor-made soil properties by bio-geochemical means.” He will receive the award at the Austrian Geotechnical Conference in January 2022.

Upcoming event

Intensive course on Analysis and Design of Energy Geostructures 4th Edition

We are facing a growing global energy crisis. Join us as we explore how we can help address this through the development and implementation of Energy Geostructures. To learn more, join our 3-day intensive course on the analysis and design of energy geostructures with Profs. Lyesse Laloui and Alessandro Rotta Loria from the February 21st to 23rd 2022. The course is aimed at professionals and scientists interested in acquiring knowledge on the energy, geotechnical and structural performances of energy geostructures.

Technology Transfer

Using heat from underground parking lots to warm apartments

EPFL spin-off Enerdrape turns underground infrastructures into renewable energy sources. Made possible through the installation of geothermal wall panels in underground structures, heat can be recovered from the surrounding soil and uses as a thermal energy source for surrounding buildings. Enerdrape’s geothermal panel technology is currently being piloted in a underground carpark in Lausanne’s Sébeillon district where it is hoped that it will supply up to a third of the energy needed to heat the 60-odd apartments in the building above.

RENT Switzerland 2021

Start-ups propose solutions for building energy renovation.

Green building energetics was a major topic of discussion at the Rent Fair, a melting pot of Swiss real estate professionals and stakeholders held in September. The demand for clean energy in the real-estate sector is rising and our director, Prof. Lyesse Laloui was joined by LMS clean-tech start-ups Geoeg, Medusoil and Enerdrape where they caught the public’s eye with their innovative solutions for cooling and heating of buildings.

Subterra Conference, Madrid

Urban solutions for our future energy needs

Prof. Lyesse Laloui has presented the results of a project to implement and explore the potential of Geneva’s underground energy structures at the Subterra Conference in Madrid. The results of the 10-year long experiment conducted by Laloui, a team from EPFL and the firm BG Consulting Engineers were published in the Journal for Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment and revealed that the thermo-active walls and slabs were efficient at storing and providing heat, producing around 600MWh per year. That is enough to satisfy the future energy needs of many residential, office or commerce buildings located nearby. To learn more, you can watch Prof. Laloui’s full lecture, as well as other interesting presentations from the LMS on our work, over on our YouTube channel.

Research Highlights:
CO2 Storage

Developing laboratory expertise to foster CO2 ground storage

The impact of human-induced global warming is increasing around world, with the most recent IPCC report again highlighting the urgency of the climate crisis. To mitigate the impact of climate change, drastic and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed. Our laboratory at EPFL is contributing to important research in this field by exploring the role CO2 sequestration can play in reducing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Research Highlights:
Energy Geostructures

Exploring geothermal energy

There are many different approaches to exploring the exploitation of geo-energies, yet according to Prof. Laloui, their potential is still largely under-exploited in Switzerland. Currently, Switzerland has a target of an 11% contribution from geothermal energy to the heating or cooling of buildings by 2035, yet Laloui suggests this could be doubled. In an interview with Le Temps, Prof. Laloui explains the basics of geothermal energy, detailing its different forms, implementation, performance, interests, costs and finally risks.

Research Highlights:
Landslide Analysis

Landslides, how to prevent the ground from collapsing?

Our landslides expert, Dr. Alessio Ferrari discussed the topic with Heidi News. He explained the underlying mechanics of this phenomenon and that scientific predictions show there will be an increase in their occurrence due to increasing disruptions to precipitation cycles and the melting of glaciers and permafrost. However, while they present ongoing challenges, he also describes how they may be prevented.


Energy Geotechnics, SEG-2018-in high demand!

Energy Geotechnics has proven to be a highly successful publication with more than 72 thousand chapter downloads since first being published in 2019. The book is a collection of selected full papers presented at the International Symposium on Energy Geotechnics 2018, organized by our laboratory in September 2018. The book has been edited by Dr. Alessio Ferrari and Prof. Lyesse Laloui and focuses on significant advances in innovative and challenging applications within energy geotechnics.

Upcoming event

3-day Intensive Course on Energy Geostructures

A 3-day intensive course on Analysis and Design of Energy Geostructures will be given by Profs. Lyesse Laloui and Alessandro Rotta Loria on November 1st – 3rd. This is the 4th edition of this course aimed at professionals and scientists interested in acquiring knowledge on the energy, geotechnical and structural performances of energy geostructures.

Technology Transfer

MeduSoil: bacteria for soil stabilization

MeduSoil, a start-up from our group, aims to replace polluting soil stabilization practices, with a fast, economical and more ecological solution. Rather than relying on traditional cement slurries for soil improvement, MeduSoil brings to the industry a technology developed at EPFL based on microorganisms to create a natural cement.

Yet another success of Enerdrape

Enerdrape, spin-off from our group developing geo-energy panels to be installed in underground environments such as garages and tunnels, contributes to CO2 emissions mitigation with its cleantech. In February, Enerdrape was featured in Bilan Magazine as one of three startups providing solutions to capture, valorize or reduce CO2 emissions. Later this year, on April 29th, Margaux Peltier and Enerdrape secured the first place at the 10th Startup Champions Seed Night, competing with 19 other promising startups.

Annual Report

Laloui’s Research Group Annual Report

We would like to present to you “Laloui’s Research Group Annual Report”, highlighting  milestones achieved by our team over the last two years. 2019 and 2020 have been eventful, and full of unexpected changes. We, nevertheless, continued to move forward, and today, we look ahead to a future replenished with new and exciting opportunities.

Upcoming events

3-day Intensive Course on Energy Geostructures (postponed)

A 3-day intensive course on Analysis and Design of Energy Geostructures will be given by Profs. Lyesse Laloui and Alessandro Rotta Loria on March 25th – 27th. The course is aimed at professionals and scientists interested in acquiring knowledge on the energy, geotechnical and structural performances of energy geostructures.

Technology transfer


EPFL spin-off MeduSoil led by our post-doc Dr. Dimitrios Terzis, has successfully tested its ground-stabilization process on eroding cliffs in the Canton of Vaud. The company’s biomineral-based solution can be used to stabilize sandy and gravelly subsoils to safeguard surrounding infrastructure. It is a long-lasting and easy-to-use alternative to industrial fluids. The startup is now ready to scale up production and has set up a facility to mass-produce its soil-stabilization agent as well as a mobile injection unit that can be dispatched to construction sites.


The Enerdrape project, developed at the LMS at EPFL, was mentioned in the new issue of PME Magazine, which highlights innovation and the future potential of Swiss PMEs in a special Foward 2020 report. Enerdrape, which uses underground parking spaces as a renewable heat source, is led by Margaux Peltier, Prof. Lyesse Laloui and Prof. Alessandro Rota Loria. The project is notably supported by the Innoseed ENAC program and came third in the ClimateLaunchpad ranking last November. Enerdrape will integrate the first phase of the Climate KIC accelerator in April 2020.

Keynote Lectures

Kersten Lecture

Meet Prof. Lyesse Laloui at one of his upcoming keynote lectures. Prof. Laloui will present the prestigious Kersten Lecture during a plenary session at the Geo-congress 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Thursday, February 27th. The lecture is entitled: “Energy Geotechnology: A New Era for Geotechnical Engineering Practice”.

Distinguished Lecture

Prof. Lyesse Laloui will be honored as a distinguished lecturer at the Northwestern Sustainability Summit on “Earth-Human Interactions: Sustainability and Development”. In this event, six Northwestern Sustainability Lecturers are selected to talk about critical challenges and advances related to energy, climate and the environment, and urban transformations, as well as to be recognized for their prominent contributions in these fields. The event will be taking place on April 8th. 2020.

Media releases

Limiting Induced Seismicity

A recent article by our researchers has suggested a stimulation technique which is expected to reduce the risk of induced seismicity. Our researchers introduced a strategy to precondition the stress field of a potential Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) prior to stimulation. By altering the stress state, the eventual shear stimulation that is required to make the reservoir economical is predicted to be less likely to result in large seismic events. This work has been published in a recent paper in Geophysical Journal International.

Developing Energy Geostructures

Our laboratory has published a column in the real estate addon of the journal Le Nouvelliste. Prof. Lyesse Laloui talked about the innovations developed at LMS, and more precisely about energy geostructures and highlighted the importance of working together to reshuffle the status quo of current codes in order to make our buildings more innovative, smarter and more sustainable.

Growth opportunities at LMS

The LMS at EPFL is looking for two Post-docs and three PhD studentts We are looking for PhD students and Post-docs in: THM behavior for nuclear waste storage application, bio-cementation of soils, CO2 storage and Energy geo-structures. Click here for more information about our open positions.

We’re looking forward to meeting motivated applicants!


Advanced ERC Project

In October 2019 we started operating the world’s largest experimental set-up dedicated to bio-geo-chemo-mechanical investigations. These investigations are conducted in the context of BIOGEOS (Bio-mediated Geo-material Strengthening), funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under an ERC Advanced Grant awarded to Prof. Lyesse Laloui. Learn more about BIOGEOS here.

New Book

Analysis and Design of Energy Geostructures

Professor Lyesse Laloui, has co-authored a new book Analysis and Design of Energy Geostructures: Theoretical Essentials and Practical Application that takes stock of the latest developments in a field of energy geostructures. The book covers the interdisciplinary and integrated competences required in the energy, geotechnical and structural analysis and design of energy geostructures that engineers, architects and urban project managers face.

Upcoming Events

Winter School on Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment

In the context of the GETE journal, the LMS will be hosting the 3rd edition of the Winter School on Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment. The school aims to provide participants with a deep understanding on certain topics in Geomechanics that are fundamental for applications related to Energy and the Environment. The school will take place on January 21st-23rd in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland

3-day Intensive Course on Energy Geostructures

A 3-day intensive course on Energy Geostructures will be given by the LMS on March 25th – 27th. The course is aimed at professionals and scientists interested in acquiring knowledge on the energy, geotechnical and structural performances of energy geostructures.

Technology transfer


Last year an EPFL Innogrant was awarded to our post-doc Dr. Dimitrios Terzis to support the development of his tech-transfer venture with MeduSoil. Medusoil is an EPFL spin-off and applies the world’s first ground bio-stabilization technology to mineralize carbonate binder underground. The technology provides solutions to mainstream construction and environmental problems such as soil erosion, landslide risk mitigation and soil consolidation.


The GeoBrain tool received the support from BRIDGE that will allow for the realisation of pilot projects. This tool uses Machine Learning techniques to optimize shallow geothermal systems, a technology that is rapidly expanding in Switzerland and around the world.


The Enerdrape project, developed at the Laboratory of Soil Mechanics (LMS) at EPFL, won the first prize at the Swiss final of ClimateLaunchpad 2019. The Enerdrape project offers an innovative technology allowing for the harnessing of heat from unexploited environments. This technology that is based on the use thermal sensors can be installed easily within existing building and also enables the use of heat from built underground environments such as parking lots, train stations, tunnels, etc.

Geomechanics Journal

Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment

The 2018 Citescores have been released and the journal,“Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment” has achieved a high Citescore of 2.52. Now the journal finds itself in the top 20% of journals in its category. The journal’s founders and editors-in-chief are Prof. Lyesse Laloui (EPFL) and Prof. Tomasz Hueckel (Duke University).

Keynote Lectures

Meet Prof. Laloui at one of his upcoming keynote lectures. One such fast-approaching keynote will be given during XVI Pan-American Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (XVI PCSMGE) in Cancun on November 17th-20th.

Growth opportunities at LMS

The LMS at EPFL is looking for two Post-docs and three PhD students in Geomechanics and Energy geotechnics. You can find the details here.

We’re keenly waiting for applications!