Cyclic Processes in Underground Pumped Storage Power Plants (UPSP) using abandoned mines

Experimental model of underground pumped storage power plant Copyright: © IWW Experimental model of a horizontal reservoir for underground pumped storage power plants

Description and goals

The goal of the research project is to investigate the cyclical processes when filling and emptying horizontal underground reservoirs of underground pumped storage power plants in abandoned mines. These processes affect the hydrodynamic, geomechanical and hydrogeological processes as well as the required infrastructure. Therefore, in addition to the geological, hydrodynamic, aerodynamic, geomechanical, ecological and economic conditions, the cyclical processes must also be considered when dimensioning an underground pumped power plant.


Key Data

Goal: Understanding of cyclic processes in underground pumped storage power plants

Method: Experimental & numerical investigations

Duration: Mai 2021 to April 2024

Partners: 7

Wave in the experimental model Copyright: © IWW Wave in the experimental model

In the laboratory at the IWW the hydro- and aerodynamic effects of local flow processes during the filling and emptying as well as operational failures will be investigated on a physical model. Additionally numerical simulations with OpenFOAM will be conducted, in which further structural and operational scenarios are considered describing the cyclical processes in underground pumped storage power plants. Based on those results, the project partners can investigate the effects of the cyclical processes on the geomechanical and hydrogeological processes and the required infrastructure. The overall findings from this collaborative project should contribute to an optimal structural and operational design of underground pumped storage plants.



Eva Vonden

Scientific staff


+49 241 80 25755



Partners and funding

The following partners are involved in the research project:

  • Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management (RWTH Aachen University)
  • Institute of Geology & Palaeontology (RWTH Aachen University)
  • Institute for Mine Surveying, Mining Subsidence Engineering and Geophysics in Mining (RWTH Aachen University)
  • State Key Laboratory for Geomechanics and Deep Underground Engineering (CUMT, China)
  • School of Environment Sciences and Spatial Informatics (CUMT, China)
  • Dept. Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics (City University, London)

The research project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under the project number 449163970.

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