Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.127205
Document author version
Title (Primary) The impact of porous medium heterogeneity on the thermal feedback of open-loop shallow geothermal systems
Author Di Dato, M.; D’Angelo, C.; Casasso, A.; Zarlenga, A.
Journal Journal of Hydrology
Year 2022
Department CHS
Volume 604
Page From art. 127205
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Geothermal systems; Thermal feedback; Thermal breakthrough time; Stochastic approach; Aquifer heterogeneity
Abstract Groundwater has been increasingly used to provide low-carbon heating and cooling of buildings with open-loop shallow geothermal systems. Water is generally reinjected into the same aquifer after the heat exchange in order to avoid the aquifer depletion. However, this can result in the return of part of the injected water to the production well(s), causing a gradual thermal alteration known as thermal feedback. Thermal feedback is a major design issue of open-loop shallow systems but, so far, it has been mainly addressed neglecting the heterogeneity of the aquifer properties. This study investigates the impact of aquifer heterogeneity on two main metrics that characterize thermal feedback: thermal breakthrough time (i.e., the first arrival time of the thermal plume) and recirculating ratio (i.e., the fraction of water coming back to production well). A stochastic approach was adopted performing a large number of numerical simulations that cover a wide range of possible scenarios. The results highlight that conductivity heterogeneity plays a major influence on the temperature evolution at the production well. The breakthrough time alone might lead to misleading evaluations of the system efficiency, given that a few particles can reach the production well by traveling in the highly-conductive layers. Conversely, both the heterogeneity and the thermal dispersivity have a negligible impact on the recirculating ratio, which quantifies the long-term evolution of thermal feedback. As a consequence, the available approaches based on advection-only and homogeneous medium are a robust tool to predict the long-term behavior of shallow open-loop geothermal systems.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Di Dato, M., D’Angelo, C., Casasso, A., Zarlenga, A. (2022):
The impact of porous medium heterogeneity on the thermal feedback of open-loop shallow geothermal systems
J. Hydrol. 604 , art. 127205