Image of the Los Humeros geothermal site modified from the GEMex official project website (see below)

Project title: Cooperation in geothermal energy Europe-Mexico for development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems and Superhot Geothermal Systems

Short project description:

GEMex has the ambition to bring together the extended Mexican know-how of discovering, developing, and deploying conventional geothermal energy systems with a variety of European expertise from similar geothermal energy systems (Italy, Iceland etc.), of developing EGS technology, and finding new approaches to make use of super-hot geothermal systems. The approach should lead to concepts for extended future deployment of geothermal energy in Europe and Mexico. This will be done by common site developments, one for hot-EGS (Enhanced Geothermal Systems) and one for SHGS (Super-Hot Geothermal Systems). This approach will open synergies of competencies and technologies and will lead to an acceleration of the learning curve for geothermal development. Potential drill paths will be developed in the target areas in order to maximise the scientific output.

One of the main project tasks is the modelling and numerical simulation of mass and heat transport processes in deep, hydro- and petrothermal geothermal systems as a contribution to the evaluation of the potentials and the safety of these plants as well as their ecological effects. At the UFZ, numerical methods are being developed and implemented in the open source finite element software project OpenGeoSys. In thermo-hydrogeologically coupled models, the effects of different natural and operating parameters in the setup and operation of deep geothermal plants are analysed. Scenario simulations are focused on the evolution of temperature fields and flow paths in different reservoir areas, including the consideration of natural or hydraulically induced crack and fracture systems. Test examples are derived from exploration and monitoring at the Los Humeros (hydrothermal system) and Acoculco (petrothermal system) sites in Mexico. Dynamic modelling includes research on data management for the development of numerical models and the evaluation of results. In addition, large-scale reservoir models are prepared for processing with methods of high-performance computing. The project results are incorporated into scientific publications, conference papers and recommendations for action on large-scale planning and optimisation of the subsurface management.

Project duration: 10/16 – 05/20

Funding organisation: European Commission / Horizon2020

Project partners:

  • Agenzia Nazionale per le Nuove Tecnologie, l’Energia e lo Sviluppo Economico Sostenibile (Italy)
  • British Geological Survey (United Kongdom)
  • Bureau de Recherches Geologiques et Minieres (France)
  • Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving Foundation (Greece)
  • Centro de Investigación Científica y de Estudios Superiores de Ensenada (Mexico)
  • CFE (Mexico)
  • European Geothermal Energy Council (Belgium)
  • Geología, Minería y Consultoría, SA de CV (Mexico)
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
  • Hochschule Bochum (Germany)
  • IGA Service GmbH (Germany)
  • JL Energía, S de RL de CV (Mexico)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany)
  • National Research Council of Italy
  • Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegpast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (The Netherlands)
  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (Germany) – coordinator
  • Institut for Energiteknik (Norway)
  • Instituto Nacional de Electricidad y Energías Limpias (Mexico)
  • Islenskar Orkurannsoknir (Iceland)
  • Istituto Nazionale die Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (Italy)
  • Panstwowy Instytut Geologiczny – Panstwowy Instytut Badwaczy (Poland)
  • Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (Germany)
  • Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Sant’Anna (Italy)
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany)
  • UNAM: Centro de Geociencias, Campus Juriquilla (Mexico)
  • UNAM: Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (Mexico)
  • UNAM: Instituto de Geofisica (Mexico)
  • Uni Research AS (Norway)
  • Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (Mexico)
  • Universita degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro (Italy)
  • Universita degli Studi di Torino (Italy)
  • Universita degli Studi Roma Tre (Italy)
  • Universiteit Utrecht (The Netherlands)

The research for this project is being conducted in close cooperation with the Chair of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

At the Department of Environmental Informatics, research for this project is being conducted at the workgroup Computational Energy Systems.

Project website:

This research is also part of the OpenGeoSys initiative (