2023-2024 / GEOL1046-1

Geothermal energy


18h Th, 15h Pr, 40h Proj., 1d FW

Number of credits

 Master of Science in Energy Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering (joint-degree programme with the "Université polytechnique de Madrid")5 crédits 
 Master in geology (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Alain Dassargues, Bertrand François

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

General introduction (2h)

Geological and hydrogeological properties of the underground for geothermal exploitation (A. Dassargues) 6h (only for students in Master Energy Engineering)
Heat pumps (principles and efficiency) (P. Dewallef) 3h and building energy needs (S. Attia) 3h (only for students in Masters Geological and Civil Engineering)

Specific flow and heat transfer equations in the underground and parametrization (A. Dassargues) 2h

Open systems (A.Dassargues) 5h

  • Introduction
  • Different systems including ATES (Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage)for shallow and deep open systems
  • Possible impacts on the gw resources (quantity, quality, cumulative aspects), permitting aspects
  • Hydrochemical aspects
  • Methodological aspects before and for an efficient design
Closed systems (in boreholes, piles, horizontal loops...) (B. François) 7h

  • Introduction
  • Characterization of the geothermal potential: empirical relations, thermal response test (TRT)
  • Design from different national recommendations
  • Modelling of temperature evolution in the ground
  • Seasonal heat storage
  • Long-term monitoring
  • Economic and environmental considerations
Potential and geological aspects of deep geothermy 2h

  • Invited seminar

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of the course, the student will have a strong basic skill in geothermal energy. He will be able to:
- be familiar with the main characteristics of geothermal systems;
- make adequate conceptual choices in the function of the local energy demand and local geological and hydrogeological conditions;
- collect and organize the needed data for a first assessment and then a feasibility study of a geothermal system;
- calculate basic feasibility aspects of a shallow geothermal system;
- detect advantages and drawbacks in the choice of a site for geothermal use;
- assess/calculate the mid- and long-term behavior of a geothermal system in the function of the underground characteristics and the energy demand;
- assess possible impacts on the groundwater resources of a geothermal system.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

For most of the students, this course is supposed to be integrated in a cursus of the Master in Energy Engineeering or in a cursus of the Master in Geological Engineering.
For other students, elementary notions of physics and applied mathematics (essentially thermodynamics, hydraulics, chemistry, vector analysis and earth sciences) are required.
No official prerequisite course is compulsory.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course is composed of lectures including theoretical content (18h Th) and many application examples (15h Pr). The 15 hours of application examples are included in both the lectures and the project sessions.
The project (40h) consists in a study of different geothermal systems in one given site or building and for a given specific energy demand (i.e., each group of students must prepare, propose and justify its best feasibility options for a same - or a different - project).

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Blended learning

Additional information:

Face-to-face for theory teaching.
In groups for practical work with regular project meeting with teachers.

Recommended or required readings

A pdf copy of slides and different publications will be made available on eCampus. For the shallow geothermy with open systems, it could be useful to check chapter 11 of the following book: Dassargues, A. 2018. Hydrogeology: groundwater science and engineering. Taylor & Francis CRC Press, 472p.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

- Remote

oral exam

Additional information:

The oral exam consists of a short 'professional' ppt presentation of the main results from the practical work, then questions by the professors acting as 'stakeholders' of the geothermal operation ...
The ppt presentation is about the results of the group's practical work. Individual questions will be asked by the professors.
Good knowledge and a perfect command of the fundamentals from all the concerned topics of this geothermy course are indeed needed for being able to provide adequate answers.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course will be given during the 2nd semester. The schedule and the room should be checked on CELCAT. 


Professor: Alain Dassargues  Alain.Dassargues@uliege.be

Professor: Bertrand François  Bertrand.Francois@uliege.be




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