Offenburg and the district of Ortenau, close to the French border on the Upper Rhine, are making a major contribution to discovering answers to one of the world's most important questions – how are we to provide the energy we need in the future? Scientists and engineers here are researching and working on solutions in the area of geothermal energy and the GeoTHERM trade fair is considered the largest of its kind in Europe.
Pioneering new approaches in the area of energy + the environment also means looking under the surface. To be more precise, under the surface of the Earth. Unimaginably large quantities of energy are stored here – potentially a giant supply of virtually inexhaustible renewable energy. This energy is the left over from processes that took place as the Earth formed and from ongoing radioactive decay. Tapping this heat produces what is known as geothermal energy. Even in the ancient world, the Greeks and Romans used hot springs while deep drilling techniques pioneered in the 19th century opened the way for today's geothermal drilling. As early as 1914, geothermal energy was used to generate electricity in Tuscany, which became the site of the first geothermal power station with an output of 250 kW. Offenburg-Ortenau in the Upper Rhine Rift Valley is an ideal location for exploiting geothermal energy and designated as one of three regions in Germany with exceptional potential in this area.
The capabilities of the location are being enhanced and networked through a wide range of partnerships with renowned international institutions such as the EGEC European Geothermal Energy Council. Herrenknecht AG, a world leader in tunnel boring technology, has its headquarters here as does its subsidiary Herrenknecht Vertical, which develops deep drilling systems. Within just a few years the annual trade fair and conference event GeoTHERM in Offenburg has established itself as the largest event of its type in Europe.