Underground research can address major questions of importance for humans such as geo-energy, geo-storage, resources (minerals and groundwater) and environmental processes.Geoscientific information
The overriding scientific question for underground facilities concerns the interaction between the geological, hydrogeological, hydrogeochemical, physical and biological processes and structures underground. What are the implications of these interactions for urban and regional development and infrastructure under environmental changes?
A key problem for scientific disciplines studying surface-subsurface geo-systems and underground space is the limited accessibility to the adjacent environment. Underground laboratories will therefore provide unique possibilities to access and address the key scientific challenges related to the geosphere.
Applied research in underground laboratories
Applied research will mainly be related to the development of new technologies and design for underground space. Cities and their extended infrastructure are increasingly relying on underground spaces. Sustainable resource development and exploitation (e.g., water and minerals) is another applied area where underground laboratories will play a critical role. Large-scale energy storage and generation, carbon capture, and repository technology for diverse waste are also megatrends that need underground experimental space.
The megatrends at the underground laboratories are mainly activities addressing geotechnology, geo-energy, geological storage, environmental and resources such as minerals and groundwater.
Innovations and new business
Addressing these questions and developing associated new technology allows innovation to take place. The innovations can create new business on a local or global scale and can contribute to local and regional development. The underground laboratories can therefore be important innovation and educational centres, often in remote locations where other business opportunities do not exist.