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Sustainability indicator for the prevention of potential thermal interferences between groundwater heat pump systems in urban aquifers

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Publication date: Available online 6 November 2018

Source: Renewable Energy

Author(s): Alejandro García-Gil, Sylvia Muela Maya, Eduardo Garrido Schneider, Miguel Mejías Moreno, Enric Vázquez-Suñé, Miguel Ángel Marazuela, Jesús Mateo Lázaro, José Ángel Sánchez-Navarro

Abstract

The steady increase of geothermal systems using groundwater is compromising the renewability of the geothermal resources in shallow urban aquifers. To ensure sustainability, scientifically-based criteria are required to prevent potential thermal interferences between geothermal systems. In this work, a management indicator (balanced sustainability index, BSI) applicable to groundwater heat pump systems is defined to assign a quantitative value of sustainability to each system, based on their intrinsic potential to produce thermal interference. The BSI indicator relies on the net heat balance transferred to the terrain throughout the year and the maximum seasonal thermal load associated. To define this indicator, 75 heating-cooling scenarios based in 23 real systems were established to cover all possible different operational conditions. The scenarios were simulated in a standard numerical model, adopted as a reference framework, and thermal impacts were evaluated. Two polynomial regression models were used for the interpolation of thermal impacts, thus allowing the direct calculation of the sustainability indicator developed as a function of heating-cooling ratios and maximum seasonal thermal loads. The BSI indicator could provide authorities and technicians with scientifically-based criteria to establish geothermal monitoring programs, which are critical to maintain the implementation rates and renewability of these systems in the cities.

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