20 million euro grant for European PUSH-IT project

KWR is a member of a broad consortium to research seasonal underground heat storage

Horizon Europe, the European Commission’s funding instrument for scientific research, recently granted €20 million to the PUSH-IT project. The project’s purpose is to demonstrate, test and develop seasonal underground heat storage, and thus contribute to achieving the objective of CO2 neutrality in Europe by 2050.

The PUSH-IT consortium consists of 19 very diverse partners, including heat suppliers, drilling companies, geological services and academic institutions. TU Delft is the coordinator of the programme. KWR is contributing to the optimal design, and the control of the water quality and drilling method.

The EU aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. Large-scale seasonal underground heat storage has an important part to play in meeting this objective, because heating and cooling account for approximately half of Europe’s energy demand. The demonstration, testing and development of sustainable sources for storage systems, such as geothermal energy and solar energy, can therefore have a considerable impact. The results of the PUSH-IT project are expected to promote the use of sustainable energy. They will also contribute to creating a balanced system for sharing the benefits and burdens of the heating transition.

Three technologies, six sites

PUSH-IT is a demonstration project focussed on large-scale seasonal heat storage up to 90 °C in geothermal reservoirs. This involves the application of three different technologies, known as Aquifer, Borehole and Mine Thermal Energy Storage (ATES, BTES, MTES). Each of the three technologies will be demonstrated, tested and developed: ATES in the Netherlands (Delft), BTES and MTES in Germany (Darmstadt and Bochum, respectively). A follower site has also been designated for each technology (see illustration), where it will be tested and developed, but without a full demonstration. Together, these sites are representative of the geological conditions that are generally found in Europe.


Schematic illustration of demo sites – Delft, Darmstadt, Bochum – and follower sites – Berlin, Litomerice (Czech Republic) and United Downs (Cornwall) – for ATES, BTES and MTES, respectively. System integration, technology development and societal aspects are all important components for the achievement of the PUSH-IT project results.

Excellent opportunity

The project partners in PUSH-IT will develop, deploy and test the technologies for various configurations of heat sources, heat storage technologies, geological conditions and distribution systems. The involvement of stakeholders from various market and legal contexts makes the project an excellent opportunity for testing, integration and advancement in the field of seasonal heat storage. The results will be monitored and evaluated for subsequent operational implementation all over Europe.