The application of environmentally friendly technologies that exploit renewable energy sources is key to follow international agreements and directives for the development of carbon neutral buildings and infrastractures. Energy geostructures are an innovative, multifunctionaltechnology that can be used to address the aforementioned challenge. By coupling the role of the ground structures with that of the geothermal heat exchangers, energy geostructures such as so-called energy piles, energy walls and energy tunnels can serve as structural supports as well as heating and cooling elements for buildings and infrastructures.
The analysis and design of energy geostructures requires the integrated knowledge of various, multidisciplinary aspects in the broad field of engineering. The reason for this is because energy geostructures are subjected to the unprecedented combined action of both thermal and mechanical loads, which govern their energy, geotechnical and structural response via multiphysical interaction with the subsurface.
Typical questions that arise in this framework are as follows: What multiphysical phenomena are associated with the geothermal and structural support operations of energy geostructures? How should energy geostructures be analysed and designed from an energy, geotechnical and structural point of view? What will be the behaviour and performance of energy geostructures over time?
The research we perform at the LMS is centred on, without being limited to, the understanding and solution of these questions and problems. The basis of our work consists of observing, measuring, understanding and predicting how energy geostructures behave from a multiphysical perspective. Our goal is to ensure an optimal energy, geotechnical and structural performance of this technology. As a practical application, our work provides answers to actual questions of practitioners and contributes to the dissemination of the energy geostructure technology.
Research Group for Energy Geostructures:
Current Research Projects:
Assessing and Exploiting the Interaction Between Ventilation and Geothermal Systems in Energy Tunnels
Energy tunnels represent innovative, proven concept for producing renewable heating/cooling energy. Existing studies that characterize thermal behavior of energy tunnels do not consider the interaction with ventilation systems. Most tunnels are equipped with a ventilation system and there is significant potential for optimization to achieve more efficient exploitation of the existing potential. This includes e.g. the ability of the tunnel heat exchanger to recover energy in the form of heat that would otherwise have to be evacuated through mechanical ventilation, and the ventilation impact on the energy design of the heat exchangers. Ventilation systems represent a major environmental and economic factor in tunnel construction and operation. Energy tunnel considerations could reduce ventilation requirements, as heat could be recovered by the heat exchanger, reducing the investment and operational cost of the ventilation system and leading to a more energy-efficient system. Understanding and exploiting the synergies of heat exchangers with the ventilation system requires a multiphysics approach considering thermo-hydro-mechanical aspects. Amberg Engineering and EPFL’s Laboratory of Soil Mechanics propose a collaboration for creating scientific insight, empiric data and a methodology to incorporate these aspects in underground design.
Involved persons: Prof. Dr. Lyesse Laloui, Dr. Elena Ravera, Sofie Ten Bosch
Analysis and Design of Energy Geostructures,1st Edition: Theoretical Essentials and Practical Application
Analysis and Design of Energy Geostructures gathers in a unified framework the theoretical and experimental competence available on energy geostructures: innovative multifunctional earth-contact structures that can provide renewable energy supply and structural support to any built environment. The book covers the broad, interdisciplinary and integrated knowledge required to address the analysis and design of energy geostructures from energy, geotechnical and structural perspectives.
1st November 2019
Hardcover ISBN: 9780128206232
Ravera, E., & Laloui, L. Soils and Foundations, 62(3), 101152.
Rotta Loria, A. F., Richard, N., & Laloui, L. Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 100333.
Cassina, L., Laloui, L., & Rotta Loria, A. F. Renewable Energy.
Zannin, J., Ferrari, A., Kazerani, T., Koliji, A., & Laloui, L. Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 29, 100275.
Houhou, R., Sutman, M., Sadek, S., & Laloui, L., Engineering Geology, 287, 105928.
Garbellini, C., & Laloui, L., Géotechnique, 71(3), 260-271.
Laloui, L., & Sutman, M., Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 27, 100214.
Zannin, J., Ferrari, A., Pousse, M., & Laloui, L., Underground Space, 6(2), 173-184.
Zannin, J., Ferrari, A., Kazerani, T., Koliji, A., & Laloui, L., Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 29, 100275.
- Experimental and numerical investigation of the thermo-mechanical behaviour of an energy sheet pile wall
Adinolfi, M., Loria, A. F. R., Laloui, L., & Aversa, S., Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 25, 100208.
- Cyclic thermomechanical response of fine-grained soil-concrete interface for energy piles applications
Ravera, E., Sutman, M., & Laloui, L., Canadian Geotechnical Journal.
- Early-stage thermal performance design of thermo-active walls implemented in underground infrastructures
Zannin, J., Ferrari, A., Larrey-Lassalle, P., & Laloui, L., Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 100218.
- Extension of Winkler’s solution to non-isothermal conditions for capturing the behaviour of plane geostructures subjected to thermal and mechanical actions
Zannin, J., Loria, A. F. R., Llabjani, Q., & Laloui, L., Computers and Geotechnics 128, 103618.
A.F.R. Loria, J.V.C. Oltra, L. Laloui, Computers and Geotechnics 120, 103410.
- Hydrothermal interactions in energy walls
J. Zannin, A. Ferrari, M. Pousse, L. Laloui, Underground Space.
A.F.R. Loria, M. Bocco, C. Garbellini, A. Muttoni, L. Laloui, Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment 21, 100153, DOI: 10.1016/j.gete.2019.100153.
- Long-term performance and life cycle assessment of energy piles in three different climatic conditions
M. Sutman, G. Speranza, A. Ferrari, P. Larrey-Lassalle, L. Laloui, Renewable Energy 146, 1177-1191, DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2019.07.035.
C. Garbellini, L. Laloui, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, DOI: 10.1061/9780784482780.005.
Elena Ravera, Melis Sutman, Lyesse Laloui, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0002258
C. Garbellini, L. Laloui,Géotechnique, 1-12, DOI: 10.1680/jgeot.19.p.208.
Elena Ravera, Melis Sutman, Lyesse Laloui, Computers and Geotechnics, doi.org/10.1016/j.compgeo.2019.103294
Benoît Cousin, Alessandro F.Rotta Loria, Andrew Bourget, Fabrice Rognon, Lyesse Laloui, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology DOI: 10.1016/j.tust.2019.102997, 2019
Peltier, M., Rotta Loria, A.F., Lepage, L., Garin, E. and Laloui, L. Applied Thermal Engineering, 2019
Garbellini, C. and Laloui, L. Computers and Geotechnics, 2019
Sutman, M., Olgun, G. and Laloui, L, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001992, 2018
Rotta Loria, A.F., Laloui, L, Géotechnique, DOI: 10.1680/jgeot.17.P.213, 2018
Rotta Loria, A.F., Vadrot, A. and Laloui, L,Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j.gete.2018.04.001, 2018
Rotta Loria, A.F., Vadrot, A. and Laloui, L, Computers and Geotechnics. DOI: 10.1016/j.compgeo.2016.12.015, 2017
Rotta Loria, A.F., and Laloui, L, Géotechnique, DOI: 10.1680/jgeot.16.P.139, 2017
Rotta Loria, A.F., and Laloui, L, Géotechnique, DOI: 10.1680/jgeot.16.P.039, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2019.102997
Rotta Loria, A.F., and Laloui, L, Computers and Geotechnics, 2016
- Numerical study of the response of a group of energy piles under different combinations of thermo-mechanical loads
Di Donna, A., Rotta Loria, A.F., and Laloui, L., Computers and Geotechnics, 2016
- Experimental investigations of the soil-concrete interface: physical mechanisms, cyclic mobilisation and behaviour at different temperatures
Di Donna, A., Ferrari, A., and Laloui, L., Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2015
Rotta Loria, A. F., Orellana, F., Minardi, A., Fürbringer, J. M., and Laloui, L., Computers and Geotechnics, 2015
Published in Madrid Subterra on 07 Novemeber 2018.
Published in TRACES 21 / 2018: Géothermie on 07 November 2018.
Published in the ‘’24 heures’’ on 10 January 2018.
Published in “Terre&Nature” on 21 May 2015.
Published in the ”24 heures” on 29 March 2014.
Published in Deep Foundations on March/April 2013
Published in La Regione Ticino on 02 February 2012.
Published in Le Moniteur du BTP on 16 December 2011.
Published in the Ee-news on 1 July 2011.
Published in the EPFL news on 25 May 2011.
Tech – Transfer
We developed the first geo-thermal panel that efficiently captures both geothermal and waster heat in existing indoor environments located in the underground and transfers it for renewable heating and cooling to buildings. Unlike conventional geothermal systems, the technology developed relies on a non-invasive installation, allowing the use of shallow geothermal energy in existing buildings. The modular geo-thermal panels are meant to be installed in existing underground indoor environments such as underground parking, underground transportation hubs, tunnels etc. With the modular geo-thermal panels we facilitate access to renewable shallow geothermal energy to existing buildings while reducing capital investments, operation costs and CO2 emissions.