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There is recently been an increased interest in understanding geothermal energy. These types of applications focus on setting the conductive and convective movement of heat beneath the ground. There is also interest in exploring the use of underground aquifers as heat storage systems in borehole thermal extraction systems (BTES). The numerical modeling of these systems must include both conductive and convective processes. The buoyant action of the heated fluid must also be accounted for in the numerical model. Adding to the complexity is the fact that many underground aquifers are of irregular geometry and therefore must be modeled in three dimensions.


A coupled SVFlux/SVHeat numerical model allows full coupling of the relevant processes such as to be ideal for geothermal numerical modeling. Conductive and convective heat flow as well as thermal buoyancy can be modeled in the software. Full irregular aquifers can be modeled in 3-D or simplified to 2-D models. The numerical model also allows simulation of geothermal heating systems. The amount of influence a geothermal heating system can have on the surrounding region can be computed. The numerical model can also be used to optimize the design of the boreholes for a geothermal system.

Additional Articles


This is a shorter version of the CanalBankFreezingThawing model presented in the Example Manual. Example is to illustrate hydrothermal coupling in the simulation of soil and ice freeze-thaw behavior on a canal bank. The water in the canal is also included in the analysis. The model simulation time is 50 hours, The canal bank is freezing in the first 25 hours, and after that time, the thawing process happens.

Model filename: GeoThermal > CanalBankFreezingThawing_50h.svm

Tags: GeoThermal,SVFLUX,SVHEAT,2D,Transient,Water Table,Canals,Geothermal,Freeze / Thaw,Water resources management,Arctic design,Canal



Model originally published by Coutts and Konrad (1994). Chilled pipeline in discontinuous permafrost.

This model is presented in the Unsaturated Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice textbook.

Section 10.9 Two-Dimensional Heat Flow Example Involving Chilled Pipeline.

Figures 10.26 - 10.30

Model filename: USMEP_Textbook > CouttsKonrad.svm

Tags: USMEP_Textbook,SVHEAT,2D,Transient,Arctic design,Freeze / Thaw,Benchmarking,USMEP,Geothermal



This example demonstrates the implementation of a thermosyphon boundary condition. Reference: Cold Regions Science and Technology 53 (2008) 283?297

Model filename: Thermosyphon > HairpinThermosyphon.svm

Tags: Thermosyphon,SVHEAT,2D,Transient,Geothermal,Thermosyphon,Freeze / Thaw,Arctic design,Benchmarking



Solution of Laplacian equation for two dimensional heat flow. Analytical results obtained from Harlan and Nixon (1978).

This model is presented in the Unsaturated Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice textbook.

Section 10.10.1 Description of Two-Dimensional Heat Flow Problem.

Figures 10.31 - 10.33

Model filename: USMEP_Textbook > HarlanNixon1978.svm

Tags: USMEP_Textbook,SVHEAT,2D,Steady-State,Geothermal,Freeze / Thaw,Arctic design,Benchmarking,USMEP



Heated strip extended across permafrost conditions. Extension of 2D heat flow model published by Harlan and Nixon (1978).

This model is presented in the Unsaturated Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice textbook.

Section 10.10.2 Placement of Warm Building on Soil.

Figures 10.34 - 10.36

Model filename: USMEP_Textbook > HeatedStrip.svm

Tags: USMEP_Textbook,SVHEAT,2D,Steady-State,Geothermal,Arctic design,Benchmarking,USMEP



This example demonstates the setup for modeling a single pile foundation in 3D. A hypothetical concrete pile is heated by means of a thermosyphon and the temperature field in the surrounding soil can be observed.

Model filename: Thermosyphon > ThermosyphonInSinglePile.svm

Tags: Thermosyphon,SVHEAT,3D,Steady-State,Thermosyphon,Pile,Foundation,Geothermal



Model filename: GeoThermal > Ventilated_Pipe_RailwayEmbankmentCooling.svm

Tags: GeoThermal,SVHEAT,3D,Transient,Road design,Geothermal,Freeze / Thaw,Transportation,Arctic design,Roadways,Benchmarking


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