Thermal perturbation in the subsurface produced in an open-loop groundwater heat pump (GWHP) plant is a complex transport phenomenon affected by several factors, including the exploited aquifer’s hydrogeological and thermal characteristics, well construction features, and the temporal dynamics of the plant’s groundwater abstraction and reinjection system. Hydraulic conductivity has a major influence on heat transport because plume propagation, which occurs primarily through advection, tends to degrade following conductive heat transport and convection within moving water. Hydraulic conductivity is, in turn, influenced by water reinjection because the dynamic viscosity of groundwater varies with temperature. This paper reports on a computational analysis conducted using FEFLOW software to quantify how the thermal-affected zone (TAZ) is influenced by the variation in dynamic viscosity due to reinjected groundwater in a well-doublet scheme. The modeling results demonstrate non-negligible groundwater dynamic-viscosity variation that affects thermal plume propagation in the aquifer. This influence on TAZ calculation was enhanced for aquifers with high intrinsic permeability and/or substantial temperature differences between abstracted and post-heat-pump-reinjected groundwater.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 13, 2018
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