ATES systems performance in practice: analysis of operational data from ATES systems in the province of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Stijn Beernink, Niels Hartog, Martin Bloemendal, Marlous van der Meer

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Energy consumption for space heating and cooling of buildings can be decreased by 40-80% by use of Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES). ATES is a proven technique, however, it is not known how efficient currently operating systems are recovering stored energy from the subsurface and how this can be determined with available data. Recent research suggests that storage conditions have a large influence on the recovery (e.g. shape and size of stored volume). In addition, literature and previous research show that other aspects of ATES system are often unfavorable (e.g. subsurface energy imbalance, small ΔT). Therefore, the main goal of this research is to define a framework to determine overall performance of ATES systems by analysis of monitoring data from operational ATES systems. The province of Utrecht was selected for this. Monthly operational data of 57 ATES systems (40% of the ATES systems in the province) was provided by the authorities and pre-processed accordingly. Results showed that recovery efficiency is positively correlated to system size (stored volume) and that ambient groundwater temperature is site-specific and should be determined for each ATES system individually. Ambient groundwater temperature can vary more than 4 °C and are spatially correlated. Next to this, a large part of the analyzed systems are not equally storing heat and cold in the subsurface. More than 80% of the studied ATES systems have an subsurface heat imbalance larger than 10%. Altogether, results indicate that a big part of the ATES systems in the province of Utrecht can substantially improve their ATES system (management) to increase long-term energy savings. This research provides an useful assessment framework to determine if an ATES system is performing correctly and what aspect of the specific ATES system needs most improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Geothermal Congress 2019
Subtitle of host publicationDen Haag, The Netherlands, 11-14 June 2019
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventEuropean Geothermal Congress 2019 - World Forum, The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 11 Jun 201914 Jun 2019


ConferenceEuropean Geothermal Congress 2019
Abbreviated titleEGC
CityThe Hague
Internet address


  • Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES)
  • system performance
  • operational data


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