Peer review artikel

Heat losses in ATES systems: The impact of processes, storage geometry and temperature


“The technical and economic success of an Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system depends strongly on its thermal recovery efficiency, i.e. the ratio of the amount of energy that is recovered to the energy that was injected. Typically, conduction most strongly determines the thermal recovery efficiency of ATES systems at low storage temperatures (<25 °C), while the impact of buoyancy-driven flow can lead to high additional heat losses at high storage temperatures (>50 °C). To date, however, it is unclear how the relative contribution of these processes and mechanical dispersion to heat losses across a broad temperature range is affected by their interaction for the wide range of storage conditions that can be encountered in practice. Since such process-based insights are important to predict ATES performance and support the design phase, numerical thermo-hydraulic ATES simulations were conducted for a wide range of realistic operational storage conditions ([15–90 °C], [50,000–1,000,000 m3/year]) and hydrogeological conditions (aquifer thickness, horizontal hydraulic conductivity, anisotropy). The simulated heat loss fractions of all scenarios were evaluated with respect to analytical solutions to assess the contribution of the individual heat loss processes. Results show that the wide range of heat losses (10–80 % in the 5th year) is the result of varying contributions of conduction, dispersion and buoyancy-driven flow, which are largely determined by the geometry of the storage volume (ratio of screen length / thermal radius, L/Rth) and the potential for buoyancy-driven flow (q0) as affected by the storage temperature and hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer. For ATES systems where conduction dominates the heat losses, a L/Rth ratio of 2 minimizes the thermal area over volume ratio (A/V) and resulting heat losses for a given storage volume. In contrast however, the impact of dispersion decreases with L/Rth and particularly for ATES systems with a high potential for buoyancy-driven flow (q0 > 0.05 m/d), increasingly smaller L/Rth ratios (<1) strongly reduce the heat losses due to tilting. Overall, the results of this study support the assessment of thermal recovery efficiencies for particular aquifer and storage conditions, thereby aiding the optimization of initial ATES designs." (Citation: Beernink, S., Hartog, N., Vardon, P.J., Bloemendal, J.M. - Heat losses in ATES systems: The impact of processes, storage geometry and temperature - Geothermics 117(2024)art. no. 102889 - DOI: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2023.102889 - (Open Access)) This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license

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