Title GeoCOOL FOOD - Cold food storage using shallow geothermal energy
Programme Target research programme »Our food, countryside and natural resources« in year 2022
Project duration 1. 10. 2022 - 30. 9. 2025
GeoZS role in the project Lead partner
GeoZS contact dr. Nina Rman

Aims of the project

Main aim of the GeoCOOL FOOD project is to apply an interdisciplinary approach (including geological, biological, technical, energetic and management aspects) for exploration of shallow geothermal energy potential and optimizing technological solutions that will ensure energy- and cost-efficient cold storage of vegetables. Leading research institutions cooperate within the project: Geological Survey of Slovenia (RO 215), Biotechnical Faculty of University of Ljubljana (RO 481) and Institute "Jožef Stefan" (RO 106).

The low self-sufficiency rate for vegetables in Slovenia, which was only 48% in 2020, can be increased by maintaining high quality of locally grown food for longer. Shortening of the transport chain will reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture and contribute to mitigation of climate change. To be able to do so it is necessary to increase the use of renewable energy resources where shallow geothermal energy (SGTE) is one of them. Energy-efficient cold storage solutions must be adapted to the local geological and climatic conditions and tailored to food storage requirements. Optimal planning of SGTE use enables cost-effective solutions that can reduce local food prices and the demand for food imports. To our knowledge, there are yet no solutions for cold storage of vegetables using PGTE in Slovenia or its vicinity. Therefore, our results will address these aspects and foster the energy transition of the agricultural sector.

We will identify most promising areas to develop cool storage using SGTE in Slovenia using new field measurements and numerical models at a selected pilot area. Simulations will assure optimized technological solutions with energy-, cost- and environmental-effective approaches in agriculture. All-inclusive approach will support also transfer of these new methods into neighbouring countries.

Project content by work packages and timeline (M=month)

  1. Inventory of existing cold storage systems and analysis of their energy requirements for vegetable production, based on the results of at least one year of measurements of the operation of the selected cold storage for cabbage and/or lettuce (M 20).
  2. Identification of typical baseline and peak energy demand and excess heat to be rejected to the ground in at least one pilot area, also based on a pilot cold storage site (M 22).
  3. Analysis of natural settings for characterisation of the selected pilot area, also by drilling at least 150 m deep exploratory borehole and performing a thermal response test (M21).
  4. Analysis of available geothermal heat pump technologies with a proposal for the selection of the most appropriate technologies in agricultural buildings according to the identified natural conditions (M 18).
  5. Selection of the most appropriate quantification model for SGTE potential, accounting also for seasonal energy storage in groundwater (aquifer thermal energy storage) or in rock (borehole thermal energy storage) (M20).
  6. Determination of optimal criteria for the deployment of geothermal facilities in the pilot area based on analytical and numerical simulations (M 27).
  7. Preparation of draft technical guidelines and proposals for (legislative) constraints for practical implementation of SGTE, taking into account their impact on the environment. They will be prepared for the official procedure of the Ministry of Infrastructure (M 36).
  8. Organization of a public workshop to discuss the draft guidelines (M 31).


The total project costs are estimated to 140,000.00 EUR. The project GeoCOOL FOOD, No. V1-2213, is financed in the same shares by the Slovenian Research Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.

Members of the project group

Code Name and surname Research organisation
28455 dr. Nina Rman Geological Survey of Slovenia
19280 dr. Mitja Janža Geological Survey of Slovenia
17541 mag. Andrej Lapanje Geological Survey of Slovenia
56294 Nejc Bizjak Geological Survey of Slovenia
51988 Simona Adrinek Geological Survey of Slovenia
37012 Simona Pestotnik Geological Survey of Slovenia
11018 mag. Joerg Prestor Geološki zavod Slovenije
28457 dr. Jernej Jež Geological Survey of Slovenia
07984 mag. Dušan Rajver Geological Survey of Slovenia
05733 dr. Rajko Vidrih Biotechnical Faculty
54964 Nik Mahnič (to 30.11.2022) Biotechnical Faculty
51862 Marjeta Mencin (from 1.12.2022) Biotechnical Faculty
35578 dr. Gašper Stegnar Institute "Jožef Stefan"
23297 dr. Marko Matkovič Institute "Jožef Stefan"
15534 mag. Jure Čižman Institute "Jožef Stefan"
10971 mag. Damir Staničić Institute "Jožef Stefan"


Bled, 37. tradicionalni posvet JSKS, 29. 11. 2022