Modeling Geothermal Wells
using SVHeat™ and SVFlux™

Numerical modeling of geothermal processes has received increased attention in recent years. The process of installing geothermal heating systems in residential homes and cottages is one application of numerical models. These systems typically involve drilling between one and three wells on a particular property. Heat exchangers then act as a pump and remove heat from the ground in order to heat the residential structure. Such systems have significant potential benefit in reducing long-term heating costs, but they raise the question of what impact they have on the geothermal systems in the ground over the long term.

SoilVision Systems Ltd. was recently contacted to perform numerical modeling of an existing geothermal heating system under an acreage-type property. Six geothermal wells were drilled there to accomodate the geothermal heat-exchange process. The site has an overall flow of water in an aquifer across the property and down to a river, which is located a few hundred meters from the property. The aquifer flows through all six drilled geothermal wells and therefore the correct numerical modeling must include the convective heat transfer as the "coldness" surrounding the geothermal wells is carried downstream by flow from the aquifer.

3D Plot of Temperature Distributions

2D Slice of Temperature Distributions

I do think this type of modeling should be more routinely done and until now there has not been an easy way of doing this. Beyond a few hiccups in setting up the model (mostly lack of CAD software experience on my part) and then the subsequent setting up and understanding of physical properties and units (small learning curve) the model ran and calculated quickly with good visual results. I would have no reservations in recommending SVHeat™ heat modeling to better understand heat flow into borehole heat exchangers in a residential geothermal installation. This understanding can be applicable to borehole spacing and depth of drilling for any particular ground and aquifers that intersect the boreholes.

Brad Ford, P.Geol.

Coupled Water and Heat Flow Now Available

SoilVision Systems Ltd. would like to announce the addition of fully coupled heat and water flow introduced in the SVFlux™ and SVHeat™ software packages. This addition allows the fully coupled modeling of both conductive and convective heat flow in groundwater. The coupling has been implemented in 1D, 2D, Axisymmetric, and 3D modeling and is enabled to work with the Professional versions of the software. Applications of this new modeling ability include geothermal heat exchangers, mine stope groundwater interactions, cover modeling through the winter months, thermal flow regimes around buried hot pipes in permafrost areas, thermosyphon performance, and freezing beneath highways.

Freezing Pipe


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If you would like to learn more about SVOffice 2009, we welcome you to contact us directly, or download our free STUDENT version so you can try it out for yourself!


GeoCalgary 2010 - 63rd Canadian Geotechnical Conference & 6th Canadian Permafrost Conference
September 12-16, 2010,   Calgary, AB, Canada
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