Energy and Environment



Elena-Maria Klopries

Senior scientific staff


+49 241 80 25271



Challenges and objectives

  Flooding of the Kaiserplatz in Aachen Copyright: Hofmann

The sustainable supply of people with energy is one of the most important objectives for the future. The compatibility of the ecological and economic aspects of energy supply is one of the major challenges of this objective. In addition to an efficient use, the responsible use of energy and natural resources also plays an important role. Through intensive agricultural or industrial use, our natural resources such as groundwater and surface water are exposed to heavy pollution from fertilizers and pollutants. Reducing these impacts while at the same time meeting growing demands for use due to rising population represents a further challenge. However, it is not only the environment that is affected by human activities. Humans, too, are exposed to increasingly significant risks as a result of climate change. Heavy rainfall events and resulting flash floods can theoretically affect any region. Even small thunderstorm cells can lead to severe local flooding. Classical flood protection concepts are in these cases sometimes insufficient to ensure adequate protection.

The objective of our research group is to investigate fundamental questions in the fields of hydropower and constructive hydraulic engineering as well as heavy rainfall and the effects of hydraulic engineering facilities and other anthropogenic activities on humans and the aquatic environment.

  Fish swimming in front of a bar rack in the laboratory flume Copyright: IWW

Tasks and methods of research

In order to answer the complex and highly interdisciplinary questions, an understanding of the physical processes is essential. The considered processes include but are not limited to damage mechanisms in turbines, multiphase flows, transport and infiltration of pollutants, expansion of flash floods and transport of bodies in the flow. The interdisciplinarity, inherent in the underlying questions, is promoted in all research projects. For this reason, cooperation with water ecologists, environmental scientists, fisheries biologists, sociologists and economists is particularly sought.

Experimental investigations, field measurements, numerical simulations and theoretical analyses are used as research methods.