Oil and gas exploitation are still the principal subjects within the Geo-energy theme, but a great deal of research is also carried out into geo-thermal energy, underground CO2 sequestration and unconventional hydrocarbons. The researchers work according to a characteristically TU Delft approach whereby geology, geophysics and engineering sciences are combined and also cooperate widely with companies, knowledge institutions and other faculties.
Now that finding new oil reserves is proving increasingly difficult, the development of smart technologies for retrieving more oil from existing sources is becoming increasingly important. That is why a large part of our research focuses on increasing the recovery factor. We carry out research into the opportunities provided by enhanced oil recovery techniques such as the subterranean injection of steam, polymers and surface active substances. We ascertain how we can improve the control of oil flows in a reservoir using smart measurement and control technologies. Furthermore, we study how the geological characterisation of reservoirs can be improved and how we can monitor process progress by periodically repeating geophysical measurements.

Geo-thermal energy

As conventional oil reserves are limited, we also carry out research into other forms of geo-energy such as geo-thermal energy. This was occasioned by the Delft Aardwarmteproject [Delft Geothermal Project], an initiative started by a number of our students to ascertain whether the TU Delft campus area could be heated using geo-thermal energy. Research initially focused on this application, but by now the more theoretical aspects of geo-thermal energy are being studied. Furthermore, we have – on the basis of our desire to properly align our educational programme with developments in the research field – developed a series of lectures on geo-thermal energy.


In almost all the various fields we cooperate with other parties. For example, for the research into CO2 sequestration, we participate in the CATO project, while in the field of geo-thermal energy we cooperate with a number of innovative engineering companies. The studies into the optimisation of oil and gas exploitation are part of larger projects such as ISAPP, Delphi and the Recovery Factory. Within these projects we cooperate with Shell and other oil companies, TNO and geophysical companies. Furthermore, we also cooperate with other TU Delft faculties in the field of applied mathematics, acoustics, chemistry, flow theory and systems and control engineering.

Room for good ideas

In the long term, we wish to focus on the optimum combination of energy sources so that we can contribute to a responsible transition from an energy balance primarily based on traditional energy sources to one characterised by the smart combination of alternative and traditional energy sources. In our opinion it is also important that there is always room for good ideas from our students. The Delft Aardwarmteproject made us realise how much initiative and energy exists among our students.

Prof. ir. Jan Dirk Jansen

Theme leader and Professor of Reservoir Systems and Control.


Further information

Further information on research

Further information on study programmes

Further information on cooperation

Further information on the Delft Research Center Energy

    CATO: CO2 capturing, transport and storage
    The CATO programme is implemented by a large consortium. TU Delft's researchers focus on subterranean storage and monitoring, whereby the injection of CO2 into reservoir rock formations is an important area of attention. Research is also carried out into geophysical methods which would allow the monitoring of the possible subterranean migration of CO2. 

    The Delphi consortium conducts research into innovative seismic measurement methods both for oil and gas exploration, and for methods which contribute to improving oil production. Many oil and geophysical companies participate in the consortium. TU Delft is one of the knowledge parties.

    Recovery Factory & ISAPP
    The joint research programmes Recovery Factory - TU Delft and Shel - and ISAPP (Integrated Systems Approach to Petroleum Production) - TNO, TU Delft and ENI (an Italian oil company) - focus on increasing the yields of oil reserves. Smart measurement and control systems play an important role in this. 

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