The outstanding ‘grand challenge’ for georesources research is: how do we improve our understanding of the formation of georesources, where they are located, and how to safely and sustainably exploit them? The European Plate Observing System-Netherlands (EPOS-NL) provides the infrastructure for research into geo-societal questions like these. EPOS-NL develops innovative new facilities and provides open access to cutting-edge research facilities and data.
EPOS-NL: the Dutch research infrastructure for solid Earth sciences EPOS-NL is a unique cluster of large-scale, geophysical facilities. Combined, these facilities generate unprecedented capabilities: fully coupled tectonic and sedimentary analogue models, new generation rock and fault mechanics experiments under true crustal conditions, unique integration of dynamic 3D fluid flow experiments and state-of-the-art microstructural and mineral mapping analyses, all linked in an advanced numerical modelling and data facility. Mineral to rock scale models are developed that couple deformation and reactive fluid flow based on rock physics and multiphase fluid flow theory and experiments. These small-scale models are in turn up-scaled to the reservoir scale, forming a basis for new methods aimed at enhancing reservoir productivity. Crust-to-reservoir scale models are developed by integrating numerical and analogue tectonic models that incorporate realistic rock properties and fluid compositions. These large-scale models help predict the occurrence of new resources and steer induced subsurface behavior and hazards. Models like these can be validated against the vast dataset produced by a highly mature, international seismic network, which includes the dense seismic monitoring network of the Groningen gas field.
The primary scientific breakthrough targeted by EPOS-NL is the development of a scientific foundation, involving the quantitative modelling capability, needed to predict the structure and evolution of the complex coupled systems that host georesources. Specific advances are anticipated in resource exploration, productivity and mitigation of induced hazards.
Access to EPOS-NL facilities
In addition to developing the infrastructure for the above-mentioned research, EPOS-NL provides the financial, technical and scientific support for (inter)national researchers to use high-end research facilities. These facilities include:
• The Earth Simulation Laboratory (ESL) at Utrecht University, for multi-scale rock physics and analogue scale model experiments;
• The Groningen gas field seismological network and the ORFEUS Data Centre (ODC) at KNMI;
• The Delft Petrophysics Lab (DPL) and the deep geothermal well (DAPwell) to be installed on the TU Delft campus in 2021;
• Distributed facilities for multi-scale imaging and tomography (MINT) of geo-materials at Utrecht University and TU Delft.
Connection with EPOS
Incorporation of EPOS-NL within the pan-European EPOS research infrastructure further facilitates trans-national access to Dutch and European facilities. It also contributes to optimal exploitation of research results via open access data services. EPOS-NL services are being developed to be fully compatible and interoperable with the EPOS e-infrastructure. The EPOS-NL partner institutes play a leading role in the development of the Multi-scale Laboratories and Seismology Thematic Core Services of EPOS.