The 2020 Kersten Lecture was given by Lyesse Laloui, on February 27, 2020, at the Geo-Congress of the American Society of Civil Engineering, in Minneapolis, MN, USA. Dr Laloui’s lecture is titled “Energy Geotechnology: A new Era for Geotechnical Engineering Practice.”
Energy geotechnology provides low carbon, cost-effective and local energy solutions to structures and infrastructures, which opens a new era for geotechnical engineering practice, by extending the conventional role of structural design to that of addressing acute energy challenges of our century. The presentation reviews the methodology behind energy geotechnology by highlighting its scope and applications to various geostructures for structural support and energy supply of built environments. Aspects of primary importance for maximizing the energy, geotechnical, and structural performance of energy geostructures and solutions to address this challenge are presented. Moreover, analytical solutions and design tools, as well as performance-based design approaches for energy geostructures are introduced. The final goal being to uncover the potential of energy geotechnology on the path of less dependency on fossil fuels and to emphasize the critical role of geotechnical engineers to take full advantage of this technology.