Geothermal Energy and Reservoir Technology
Prof. Dr.  Thomas Kohl

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kohl

  • Adenauerring 20b

    76131 Karlsruhe

Research Fields

  • Deep geothermal systems (with focus on induced seismicity and geomechanical fracture behavior)
  • Numerical methods
  • Coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanic-chemical processes in fractured rock
  • Stress field analysis

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kohl is full professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT. He holds the chair of the Division of Geothermal Energy at the Institute for Applied Geosciences and is head of the topic "Geothermal Energy Systems" at KIT contributing to the research field "Energy" in the program "Renewable Energies" as defined by the Helmholtz Association.

After his degree in Geophysics at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, he became research associate at CNRS in Paris in the field of seismology. In 1992 he got his PhD at ETH Zurich on his investigations of coupled processes in deep geothermal systems. After completing his habilitation thesis he became senior lecturer at ETH Zürich in 1999 as recognized expert on subsurface and especially in geothermal systems. His code FRACTure on coupled hydraulic-thermal-mechanical processes used world-wide was applied to charac-terize fractured rock in complex subsurface terrain. As co-founder of GEOWATT AG in Zürich he was the CEO of this ETH spin-off, medium size company between 2003 and 2011. Here he collaborated in European and national research projects also as work package leader and directed numerous geothermal project realiza-tions. As such, he was leading projects in Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, U.S. and France. At KIT in Karlsruhe, a major research focus is on the investigation of geomechanical aspects in fractured systems. As such, the origin and impact of induced seismicity and the impact on the reservoir is of strong interest. Using the exceptional possibilities of the surrounding geothermal projects, systematic data analyses in combination with the tectonic setting in the Rhine Graben are conducted. With his arrival, KIT became an internationally renowned institution in geothermal research. T. Kohl has organized several high rank workshops and is one of the initiators of the European Geothermal Workshop organized jointly with University Strasbourg. T. Kohl is member of several scientific committees in Germany and France. At KIT he has established several teaching modules and is engaged in international Master Programs. Additionally, he is editor in chief of Geothermal Energy Journal and special issues of Geothermics, member of the International Heat Flow commission IASPEI, and EERA – JPGE management board member. He gave numerous presentations and invited talks at high-level scientific conferences and is author of more than 70 reviewed manuscripts in renowned journals. He is col-laborating with many worldwide industrial projects. Since 2017 he is spokesman of the working group "Geothermal Energy" of the German Geophysical Society.

Education and Professional Experience

1981 - 1988 Studium der Geophysik an der Technischen Universität Karlsruhe
1987 - 1988 Post graduate researcher at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) Paris
1988 - 1992 PhD thesis at Institute of Geophysics at ETHZ (ETH Zurich)
1991 - 1996 Research Assistant / Postdoc at ETH Zurich
1997 - 2003 Senior Researcher (Oberassistent) at ETH Zurich
1999 Habilitation at ETH Zurich and nomination as Assoc. Professor (Privatdozent)
2002 - 2011 Founder and CEO of the company GEOWATT AG in Zurich
2006 - 2010 Honorary Professor at University Freiburg
Since 2010 Full Professor at KIT Karlsruhe


Activities in the Scientific Community, Honors, Awards

1994 - 1996 Chairperson Institute's Council at Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich
1996 Young Scientists' Publication Award of European Geophysical Society (EGS)
1998 - 2003 Representative of IASPEI in Swiss National Committee of IUGG
1999 Best Paper Award at Geothermal Resource Council (GRC)
2000 - 2008 Board member of Swiss Geothermal Association
2000 - 2010 Board member of Swiss Geophysical Commission
Seit 2003 Member of "International Heat Flow Commission" of IASPEI
2005 - 2010 Board member of CREGE (Centre de Recherche en Géothermie), Neuchâtel
2010 - 2015 Member Faculty Council (Fakultätsrat), Dept. Civ. Engin., Geo & Envir. Sciences, KIT
Seit 2010 Scientific Speaker of German Geothermal Economic Forum
Seit 2011 Deputy of EERA- JPGE SP 2 "Accessing & Engineering of the Reservoir"
Seit 2012 Responsible of the Helmholtz Topic "Geothermal Energy Systems" at KIT
Seit 2013 Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Geothermal Energy, Guest Editor of Geothermics
2015 Henry J. Ramey Award of GRC for "seminal contributions to the modeling of hydraulic stimulation of EGS reservoirs and fluid flow in fractured media, and for mentoring the next generation of geothermal reservoir engineers"


Teaching Experience

1997 - 2011 Courses at ETHZ: Borehole Geophysics, Theoretical Gravimetry & Geomagnetics, Geothermal
1993 - 2014 Post-diploma courses at: EPF Lausanne, Universities Neuchâtel, University Zürich, Engineer. Colleges in Switzerland / Germany on Numerical Modelling, Geothermal utilization
1997 - 2010 Supervisor of theses: 3 x Diploma, 2 x PhD (all ETHZ), 3 x PhD, 1 x habilitation
2006 - 2010 Courses of Borehole Geophysics and Geothermal at University Freiburg
2010 - 2015 Education program at KIT with 5 course modules (Borehole Technology, Heat Transport in Earth, Applied Geothermics, Geothermal Research Topics, Numerical Methods Earth Science)
2010 - 2015 Theses primary supervisor: 9 x Dissertations (2x "summa cum laude" both with awards), 10 x MSc (2 awards) , 5 x BSc, sec. supervisor/committee member: 10 x PhD



Development of thermo-reporting nanoparticles for accurate sensing of geothermal reservoir conditions.
Rudolph, B.; Berson, J.; Held, S.; Nitschke, F.; Wenzel, F.; Kohl, T.; Schimmel, T.
2020. Scientific reports, 10 (1), Article: 11422. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-68122-y
A Fully-Coupled Implicit Transient Two-Phase Wellbore Simulator.
Nitschke, F.; Gholami Korzani, M.; Held, S.; Kohl, T.
2020. World Geothermal Congress 2020
A multicomponent geothermometer for high-temperature basalt settings.
Ystroem, L. H.; Nitschke, F.; Held, S.; Kohl, T.
2020. Geothermal Energy, 8 (1), Art. Nr.: 2. doi:10.1186/s40517-020-0158-z
An Integrated Sensitivity Analysis for the Basalt Specific Multicomponent Geothermometer for High Temperature Settings.
Ystroem, L. H.; Nitschke, F.; Held, S.; Kohl, T.
2020. World Geothermal Congress 2020
A Stochastic Study of Flow Anisotropy and Channelling in Open Rough Fractures.
Marchand, S.; Mersch, O.; Selzer, M.; Nitschke, F.; Schoenball, M.; Schmittbuhl, J.; Nestler, B.; Kohl, T.
2020. Rock mechanics and rock engineering, 53, 233–249. doi:10.1007/s00603-019-01907-4
The Development of a Fully Coupled Wellbore-Reservoir Simulator for Geothermal Application.
Gholami Korzani, M.; Nitschke, F.; Held, S.; Kohl, T.
2019. Transactions, 43, 927–936
Temperature log simulations in high-enthalpy boreholes.
Wang, J.; Nitschke, F.; Gholami Korzani, M.; Kohl, T.
2019. Geothermal Energy, 7 (1), 32. doi:10.1186/s40517-019-0149-0
Probability of fault reactivation in the Bavarian Molasse Basin.
Seithel, R.; Gaucher, E.; Mueller, B.; Steiner, U.; Kohl, T.
2019. Geothermics, 82, 81–90. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2019.06.004
The new Geothermal Energy: Science, Society, and Technology.
Kolditz, O.; Gutiérrez-Negrín, L. C.; Huenges, E.; Jakobs, L.; Kohl, T.; Moeck, I.
2017. Geothermal Energy, 5 (1), Art. Nr. 21. doi:10.1186/s40517-017-0078-8
Correction to: Flow-through experiments on the interaction of sandstone with Ba-rich fluids at geothermal conditions.
Orywall, P.; Drüppel, K.; Kuhn, D.; Kohl, T.; Zimmermann, M.; Eiche, E.
2017. Geothermal Energy, 5 (1), Art. Nr. 23. doi:10.1186/s40517-017-0083-y
Flow-through experiments on the interaction of sandstone with Ba-rich fluids at geothermal conditions.
Orywall, P.; Drüppel, K.; Kuhn, D.; Kohl, T.; Zimmermann, M.; Eiche, E.
2017. Geothermal Energy, 5 (1), Art. Nr.: 20. doi:10.1186/s40517-017-0079-7
Analysis of borehole breakout development using continuum damage mechanics.
Sahara, D. P.; Schoenball, M.; Gerolymatou, E.; Kohl, T.
2017. International journal of rock mechanics and mining sciences, 97, 134–143. doi:10.1016/j.ijrmms.2017.04.005
Integrated Research as Key to the Development of a Sustainable Geothermal Energy Technology.
Meller, C.; Bremer, J.; Ankit, K.; Baur, S.; Bergfeldt, T.; Blum, P.; Canic, T.; Eiche, E.; Gaucher, E.; Hagenmeyer, V.; Heberling, F.; Held, S.; Herfurth, S.; Isele, J.; Kling, T.; Kuhn, D.; Mayer, D.; Müller, B.; Nestler, B.; Neumann, T.; Nitschke, F.; Nothstein, A.; Nusiaputra, Y.; Orywall, P.; Peters, M.; Sahara, D.; Schäfer, T.; Schill, E.; Schilling, F.; Schröder, E.; Selzer, M.; Stoll, M.; Wiemer, H.-J.; Wolf, S.; Zimmermann, M.; Kohl, T.
2017. Energy technology, 5 (7), 965–1006. doi:10.1002/ente.201600579
THC simulation of halite scaling in deep geothermal single well production.
Nitschke, F.; Held, S.; Himmelsbach, T.; Kohl, T.
2017. Geothermics, 65, 234–243. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2016.09.009
Structural control of geothermal reservoirs in extensional tectonic settings: An example from the Upper Rhine Graben.
Meixner, J.; Schill, E.; Grimmer, J. C.; Gaucher, E.; Kohl, T.; Klingler, P.
2016. Journal of structural geology, 82, 1–15. doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2015.11.003
Resistivity distribution from mid-crustal conductor to near-surface across the 1200 km long Liquiñe-Ofqui Fault System, southern Chile.
Held, S.; Schill, E.; Pavez, M.; Díaz, D.; Muñoz, G.; Morata, D.; Kohl, T.
2016. Geophysical journal international, 207 (3), 1387–1400. doi:10.1093/gji/ggw338
Blankenship, D.; Dobson, P.; Garg, S.; Ghassemi, A.; Kohl, T.
2016. Geothermics, 63, 1. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2016.04.001
Induced seismicity in geothermal reservoirs: A review of forecasting approaches.
Gaucher, E.; Schoenball, M.; Heidbach, O.; Zang, A.; Fokker, P. A.; van Wees, J.-D.; Kohl, T.
2015. Renewable & sustainable energy reviews, 52, 1473–1490. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2015.08.026
Deep geothermal: The ‘Moon Landing’ mission in the unconventional energy and minerals space.
Regenauer-Lieb, K.; Bunger, A. P.; Chua, H.; Dyskin, A. V.; Fusseis, F. F.; Gaede, O.; Jeffrey, R. G.; Karrech, A.; Kohl, T.; Liu, J.; Lyakhovsky, V. A.; Pasternak, E. G.; Podgorney, R. K.; Poulet, T.; Rahman, S.; Schrank, C. E.; Trefry, M. G.; Veveakis, E.; Wu, B.; Yuen, D.; Wellmann, F.; Zhang, X.
2015. Journal of earth science, 26 (1), 2–10. doi:10.1007/s12583-015-0515-1
Experimental Validation of a Numerical Model : Application of an Open Source Algorithm towards Geothermal Conditions.
Orywall, P.; Dimier, A.; Kohl, T.; Kuhn, D.; Place, J.; Zorn, R.
2015. WGC 2015 : World Geothermal Congress, Melbourne, Australia, 19th - 25th April 2015, Art. Nr. 23008, International Geothermal Association (IGA), Bochum
Corrosion and scaling in the geothermal cycle of Soultz-sous-Forêts (France).
Mundhenk, N.; Huttenloch, P.; Scheiber, J.; Genter, A.; Kohl, T.; Zorn, R.
2014. Corrosion Conference and Expo 2014 : Collaborate. Educate. Innovate. Mitigate, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 9-13 March 2014, 2361–2374, NACE International, Houston
Electrochemical study of the corrosion of different alloys exposed to deaerated 80°C geothermal brines containing CO₂.
Mundhenk, N.; Huttenloch, P.; Bäßler, R.; Kohl, T.; Steger, H.; Zorn, R.
2014. Corrosion science, 84, 180–188. doi:10.1016/j.corsci.2014.03.027
Time-dependent brittle creep as mechanism for time-delayed wellbore failure.
Schoenball, M.; Sahara, D. P.; Kohl, T.
2014. International journal of rock mechanics and mining sciences, 70, 400–406. doi:10.1016/j.ijrmms.2014.05.012
Inferring the in situ stress regime in deep sediments: an example from the Bruchsal geothermal site.
Meixner, J.; Schill, E.; Gaucher, E.; Kohl, T.
2014. Geothermal Energy, 2, Art. Nr. 7. doi:10.1186/s40517-014-0007-z
Geothermal energy systems : research perspective for domestic energy provision.
Huenges, E.; Kohl, T.; Kolditz, O.; Bremer, J.; Scheck-Wenderoth, M.; Vienken, T.
2013. Environmental earth sciences, 70 (8), 3927–3933. doi:10.1007/s12665-013-2881-2
The Peculiar shut-In behavior of the Well GPK2 at soultz-sous-Forêts.
Schoenball, M.; Kohl, T.
2013. Transactions - Geothermal Resources Council, 37 (1), 217–220
The application of a neural network to map clay zones in crystalline rock.
Meller, C.; Genter, A.; Kohl, T.
2013. Geophysical journal international, 196 (2), 837–849. doi:10.1093/gji/ggt423