Abstract

Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) as a complement to fluctuating renewable energy systems is a reliable technology to guarantee continuous energy supply for heating and air conditioning. We investigated a high-temperature mono-well system (~100°C), where the well screens are separated vertically within the aquifer, as alternative to conventional doublet ATES systems for an underground storage in northern Oman. We analysed the impact of thermal inference between injection and extraction well screens on the heat recovery factor (HRF) in order to define the optimal screen-to-screen distance for best possible systems efficiency. Two controlling interference parameters were considered: the vertical screen-to-screen distance and aquifer heterogeneities. The sensitivity study shows that with decreasing screen-to-screen distances thermal interference increases storage performance. A turning point is reached if the screen distance is too close, causing either water breakthrough or negative thermal interference between the screens. Our simulations show that a combined heat plume with spherical geometry results in the highest heat recovery factors due to the lowest surface-area over volume ratios. Thick aquifers for mono-well HT-ATES are thus not mandatory. Our study shows that a HT-ATES mono-well system is a feasible storage design with high heat recovery factors for continuous cooling or heating purposes.

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