Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Science & Technology: Using Aquifers to Store Geothermal Heat

Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage Systems (Water Well Journal)

The geothermal energy systems are heating up in the Netherlands.

In short, aquifer thermal energy storage systems (ATES) systems work by using two separate wells, a cold well and a warm well. In the summer, cool groundwater from the cold well is pumped out and used to cool the building, using a heat exchanger. The heat extracted from the building is injected into the warm well and stored until winter. In the winter, the process is reversed. Water from the warm well is used to heat the building, and the cool air extracted from the system is then stored in the cold well.

While it’s common in Europe, mostly in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, it’s rarely used in the United States because our aquifers are less suitable for the technology. The sand aquifers in the Netherlands are better for ATES and each well can typically produce up to 250 cubic meters per hour (m3/h) or 1100 gallons per minute (gpm), says Ronald Folders, director for Grondboorbedrijf Haitjema B.V. in Dedemsvaart, Netherlands.

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