Consulting Solutions: Geothermal Modeling

 


Problem:

One potential use of the coupled SVFlux™ and SVHeat™ Professional software packages is the analysis of geothermal systems. There has been recent focus on the performance of geothermal systems in the industry as an alternative energy source. One aspect of geothermal systems is pumping heat into large underground aquifers and then extracting that heat at a later time and/or a later position in the aquifer. This concept shows promise but for it to work properly there must be a mechanistic understanding of the processes involved. A 2D or 3D numerical model of such a system provides an excellent way to predict possible performance.

Solution:

When heat is injected into the upstream area of the aquifer there is a buoyancy effect which takes place because of the hot liquid. Therefore the tendency of the heated water is to flow along with the groundwater as well as rise to the top surface of the aquifer. This tendency can be replicated in the numerical SVFlux™ and SVHeat™ coupled model. The coupled software solves for both convective and conductive heat flow. The software also implements injection and extraction wells for the estimation of water and heat flows for different rates and temperatures of injection. Summaries of total energy contained in the aquifer system can be produced over time. Heat flow in and out of the aquifer can also be reported as a function of time.

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