Pioneering work for a sustainable future

Construction of the Hagerbach Test Gallery began over 50 years ago to create a laboratory for the research and development of underground construction techniques and the optimisation of the machines and materials used.

And today, or in the next 50 years?

Can underground construction play a pioneering role in the sustainable development of our world?

How can a circular system with low energy consumption and minimal emissions be designed and operated from planning to construction and decommissioning?

Can the use of robotic technology in mining and tunnelling or in the operation of underground facilities lead to more sustainable quality and greater safety?

Explore these and many other questions with us in the Hagerbach Test Gallery, the Underground Future Lab!


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Why choose Hagerbach to research?

Overall, the Hagerbach Test Gallery offers a unique research infrastructure for a wide range of topics in the field of underground mining and machinery and enables researchers to develop innovative solutions for the challenges of the future. We offer the ideal research infrastructure:

  • Real conditions: The Hagerbach Test Gallery offers the opportunity to conduct research under real conditions. Researchers can test their experiments and technologies in a real underground environment, which improves the transferability of the results to real construction projects.
  • Diverse geological environments: The gallery is located in a region of soft slate and hard siliceous limestone, which allows researchers to study different geological conditions and develop technologies for construction in challenging conditions.
  • Modern facilities: The Hagerbach Test Gallery has a wide range of modern facilities and equipment. In addition to machines and internet access throughout the tunnel, there is a restaurant on the mountain that caters for the physical well-being of the visitors.
  • Safety standards: The tunnel meets strict safety standards, allowing researchers to conduct their experiments in a safe environment and minimise potential risks.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration: The Hagerbach Test Gallery facilitates and enables interdisciplinary collaboration between industry partners and researchers such as engineers, geologists, environmental scientists and other specialists, which promotes the development of holistic solutions to complex problems in underground mining.
  • Long-term projects: Researchers have the opportunity to conduct long-term projects with their own prototype equipment in the Hagerbach Test Gallery to study long-term trends and evaluate the long-term performance of underground mining technologies and methods.
  • Public access: The Hagerbach Test Gallery also offers the opportunity for educational institutions, research groups and companies to visit the gallery and participate in specific research projects, which promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Research topics that can be investigated at the Hagerbach Test Gallery:

  • Optimisation of tunnelling methods: Investigation of new technologies and processes for the efficient and safe construction of tunnels and underground structures, e.g. innovative anchors, new grouting solutions, optimised sealing options, special shotcrete and its optimal application.
  • Use of robotics and automation: research into robots and automated systems for use in underground construction to improve productivity and safety.
  • Development of energy-efficient machines: Investigation of technologies to reduce the energy consumption of machines and equipment in underground mining.
  • Materials for tunnelling: Evaluation of new construction materials and materials with improved properties such as durability, strength and environmental compatibility.
  • Construction under difficult geological conditions: Research into techniques and strategies for the construction of tunnels and underground structures in complex geological environments
  • Intelligent monitoring systems: Development of sensor technologies and monitoring systems for real-time monitoring of tunnels and underground infrastructure in order to recognise and rectify potential problems at an early stage.
  • Sustainable disposal of excavated materials: Investigation of methods for recycling and disposing of excavated materials from underground mining in order to minimise environmental impact and conserve resources.
  • Communication and data exchange in underground construction: Research into technologies and protocols for communication and data exchange in underground environments in order to improve the efficiency and safety of construction and operational processes.
  • Construction of underground transport systems: Development of technologies and concepts for the construction and operation of underground transport systems such as underground railways, tunnel roads and underground railway stations.
  • Integration of renewable energies in underground construction: Investigation of possibilities for the integration of renewable energies such as geothermal energy, solar energy or hydropower in underground construction to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact.

More at the underground future lab:

Energy Solutions

This includes circular and renewable production, transformation, on-site storage, distribution of energy / heat and in the focus areas “City” and “Construction Sites”


Smart City

This includes food and industrial engineering and production, water capture and storage and usage (‚sponge city’), ICT / IOT edge computing


Space Habitats & Safety

This includes all research and prototyping to evaluate, test and engineer underground or extra-terrestrial living and mobility spaces