Workshop 5

The Role of Near-Surface Geophysics and Engineering in Renewable Energies and Low-Carbon Economy Transition

Friday 9 June 2023 | Room Lehar 1



  • Alexis Shakas (ETH Zürich)
  • Michael Behm (Geodata)
  • Chi Zhang (Vienna University)



Transitioning to a renewable and low-carbon energy economy is one of the most crucial challenges faced by today’s society. At the forefront of this shift, geophysics can significantly contribute to this transition by providing essential tools for subsurface characterization and monitoring, infrastructure planning, and low carbon energy resource exploration and management. This full-day workshop focuses on identifying and discussing opportunities and challenges for near-surface geophysics and engineering applications in the energy transition. During the workshop we will explore innovative concepts and case studies that demonstrate the important roles of various methods of near surface geophysics in tackling this topic. In addition, we will host a panel discussion involving stakeholders in academia, industry, and the public sector, and will end the day with an interactive and participatory group exercise designed to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Key questions the workshop intends to address include:

  1. What is/should be the role of near-surface geophysics in the energy transition?
  2. What are new opportunities and (old) challenges for near-surface geophysics in the energy sector?
  3. Which technological, business, and societal aspects need to be considered to promote the successful applications of near-surface geophysics in this area?
  4. What are best practices and innovative approaches for efficient and accurate site characterization?
  5. Improving the understanding between engineers and geophysicists: What is required vs. what is delivered?
  6. Can and should near surface geophysics become a mandatory and standardized procedure in the context of renewable energy projects?
  7. What are the opportunities for long-term near-surface geophysical monitoring in the context of renewable energy projects?


The above questions will be addressed through invited talks and Q&A sessions, as well as a participatory group exercise. Moreover, our panel discussion will focus on the roles, future aspects, and interrelations between industry, academia, and the public sector in the renewable energy transition.


Participant Profile

The workshop will provide a platform for in-depth discussions, idea exchanges, and networking among key stakeholders in the field of the energy transition with a focus on the role of near-surface geophysics and engineering. The workshop is open to anyone interested in the use of near-surface geophysics. We particularly encourage students, active researchers, and practitioners, as well as stakeholders/decision makers to join the presentations and participatory exercise.


Workshop Programme

09:30Introduction to the workshop
● Geophysics in geoenergy and groundwater-related studies: recent examples from Finland – M. Malinowski (Geological Survey of Finland – GTK)
● High-resolution sub-bottom profiling for the characterization of shallow riverbed sediments in the Möll river, Rottau, Carinthia – C.G. Eichkitz (Geo5)
10:30Coffee Break
● Exploring the potential of continuous monitoring of CO2 injection using dense passive seismic data – T.Li (Chongqing University)
● The MSS Network – an example for low-cost monitoring of near-surface seismic processes – S. Mertl (Mertl Research)
● Microseismic monitoring with surface and shallow borehole sensors: example of improved detection at surface – L. Eisner (Microseismic)
13:00Panel Discussion: Opportunities and challenges for the Near Surface community in the energy transition – L. Kirchberger (WienEnergie), M. Martin (Global Maritime), D. Orlowski (DMT Group), J. Robertsson (ETH Zürich)
● Near-surface geophysics for different applications in the energy transition – I. Schlögel (Geosphere Austria)
● Subsurface characterization through borehole geophysics: An application to a geothermal reservoir – A. Shakas (ETH Zurich)
15:20Coffee Break
15:40Interactive Session
17:00End of the Workshop