Improved performance of heat pumps helps to use full potential of subsurface space for Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage

Martin Bloemendal, Marc Jaxa-Rozen, Vahab Rostampour Samarin

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The application of seasonal Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) contributes to meet goals for energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. Heat pumps have a crucial position in ATES systems because they dictate the operation scheme of the ATES wells and therefore play an important role in utilizing the storage potential of the subsurface.
In the Netherlands, suitable climatic and geohydrological conditions in combination with progressive building energy efficiency regulation have caused the adoption of ATES to take off, resulting in a situation where demand for ATES exceeds the available subsurface space in many urban areas. The most important aspects in this problem are A) the permanent and often unused claim resulting from static permits for ATES operation, and B) excessive safety zones around wells to prevent interaction between wells. Both aspects result in an artificial reduction of subsurface space for potential new ATES systems. Recent research has shown that ATES systems could be placed much closer to each other, and that a controlled/limited degree of interaction between them can actually benefit the overall energy savings of an entire area.
Two different simulation experiments were carried out to evaluate the effect of an adaptive permit capacity policy, as well as revised layout guidelines for ATES wells. Our solution provides a framework in which smaller distances between wells and adaptability of the permit volume plays a key role, to allow for optimal utilization of subsurface space for ATES and maximize GHG emission reduction. This paper shows how the total GHG emission reduction of an area can be increased by intensifying the use of the aquifer by allowing (some) interaction between ATES wells, which opens up unused but claimed subsurface space, and increase the number of heat pumps and ATES systems installed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 12th IEA Heat Pump Conference 2017
PublisherStichting HPC 2017
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-90-9030412-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event12th IEA Heat Pump Conference - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 15 May 201718 May 2017
Conference number: 12


Conference12th IEA Heat Pump Conference
Internet address


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