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Test site for the assessment and monitoring of reactive multi-phase transport processes in shallow aquifers induced by subsurface use


The project TestUM-Aquifer

Interventions in the geological subsurface draw public attention especially on the operations' possible impacts on near-surface groundwater as a potential drinking water resource. Direct consequences of e.g. aquifer contaminations, however, are often insufficiently assessed. Here, especially field experiments under controlled  boundary conditions can help deliver reliable information on reactions and transport processes.

For this purpose, the project TestUM-Aquifer will establish a test site for the investigation of multi-phase and heat transport processes in shallow aquifers. The site is located in a small, prliminarily explored area near the city of Wittstock in the state of Brandenburg.  The planned field experiments focus on geophysical, hydrogeochemical and microbiological investigations of reactive multi-phase transport processes as a consequence of induced gas leakages into an aquifer.

The effects of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen mixtures (air) , methane and hydrogen as well as the conseqences of heat storage on transport processes in the groundwater will be investigated. The field experiments will be prepared and verified using numerical models.

As overarching tasks, TestUM-Aquifer addresses the detectability, predictability and controllability of reactice multi-phase and heat transport processes in natural shallow aquifers. The project is subdivided into 3 sub-projects:

  • TP 1 | Experimental and numerical models
  • TP 2 | Geophysical monitoring and parameterisation
  • TP 3 | hydrogeochemical, isotope-chemical and microbiological processes

The first sub-project will develop experimental and numerical models for the quantitative prognosis of gas spreading and connected mobilising reactions.

The second sub-project focusses on selected geophysical methods for the exploration and monitoring aof gas phase bodies and temperature fields in the shallow geological subsurface.

The third sub-project adresses hydrogeochemical, isotope-chemical and microbiological processes following exposures to gas or heat. Especially the release of trace metals into the groundwater and their adsorption by sediment.

The test field and the experiments provide for an internationally unique  research approach. The planned studies on heat storage in shallow geological formations will be crucial in the field of energy storage in urban areas. A continuation of the test site operation beyond the project TestUM-Aquifer is intended, in order to provide a unique geoscientific infrastructure open to the national and international scientific community.