Abstract

Development of many wells is envisaged in the UK in coming decades to exploit the abundant shale gas resource as fuel and petrochemical feedstock. Forward planning is therefore warranted regarding reuse of the resulting subsurface infrastructure after gas production has ceased. It is shown that this infrastructure might be repurposed for borehole thermal energy storage (BTES). Preliminary calculations, assuming an idealized cycle of summer heat storage and winter heat extraction, indeed demonstrate annual storage of c. 6 TJ or c. 2 GWh of energy per BTES well. Summed over the anticipated well inventory, a significant proportion of the UK's future heat demand might thus be supplied. This form of BTES technology has particular relevance to the UK, where the shale resource is located in relatively densely populated areas; it is especially significant for Scotland, where the resource coincides with a particularly high proportion of the population and heat demand.

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