The International Geothermal Centre is a joint research institution of science and industry, working closely with administration and politics. With this wide base, it serves the public as a cluster of excellence and a partner for all questions regarding the use and production of geothermal energy.
GZB is set up as an integrated institute for science and industry. Starting as a scientific institute at the Bochum University of Applied Sciences it has continued to develop steadily since its formation in 2003. A registered not-for-profit scientific association of 10 universities is attached to the GZB. Alongside this scientific network, a business association, Geothermie e.V., is located at the GZB. Around 20 companies from the geothermal sector are closely tied into the research structure and specific projects, in order to interlock the interests of the companies with applied research. The twofold organisation structure, of science and industry, ensures a quick transfer of research results into marketable products and a high degree of application orientation in the scientific work.
The GZB is integrated into several European research associations. The most important are EERA (European Energy Research Alliance) and GESEP (German Scientific Earth Probing Consortium). The global geothermal association (IGA - International Geothermal Association) moved its main office from Reykjavik in Iceland to the GZB in Bochum in 2011. The IGA currently represents 5,000 plus members from more than 65 countries and supports the international networking of GZB in R&D.
The areas of application of the technologies researched at GZB extends from 2°C to 200°C rock and thermal water temperatures for the generation of heat, cold and electricity. Typical usages are heat pumps, thermal and healing baths, agricultural production (large scale green houses) and fish breeding, sea water desalination, refrigeration machines for industry and for air conditioning, municipal local and district heating systems, as well as power generation from 2 to 200 MW. Currently, the number of employees working at the GeothermieCampus is around 40 and growing. The last addition to the team was the AGES Graduate School (Applied Research on Geothermal Energy Systems), which forms PhDs in a cooperation project with the Ruhr-University and the UAS Bochum, with currently 11 doctoral candidates.
The GZB commands one of the largest research infrastructures in the world: Laboratories for drilling technology, for reservoir-, geo-, and energy engineering, facilities for technology demonstrations and for environmental monitoring, as well as an area of about 50 km2 with mining permissions named “Future energy”. GZB herewith offers a first class R&D environment which attracts scientists from all over the world (for example India, France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Greece, New Zealand, Turkey, Poland, El Salvador, Sweden, Chile, El Salvador, Greece, Iraq).
The research fields of the International Geothermal Centre (GZB) are divided into the topics of Infrastructure & Applications, Advanced Drilling Technologies and Reservoir Engineering & Rock Physics. Professor Bracke is in charge of the first two fields. Professor Saenger, who was appointed to the professorship Reservoir Engineering & Rock Physics endowed by the Stadtwerk Bochum in the winter semester 2014/15 is responsible for the third field.