Efficient numerical simulation of heat storage in subsurface georeservoirs

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Anke Boockmeyer, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
The transition of the German energy market towards renewable energy sources, e.g. wind or solar power, requires energy storage technologies to compensate for their fluctuating production. Large amounts of energy could be stored in georeservoirs such as porous formations in the subsurface. One possibility here is to store heat with high temperatures of up to 90°C through borehole heat exchangers (BHEs) since more than 80 % of the total energy consumption in German households are used for heating and hot water supply. Within the ANGUS+ project potential environmental impacts of such heat storages are assessed and quantified. Numerical simulations are performed to predict storage capacities, storage cycle times, and induced effects. For simulation of these highly dynamic storage sites, detailed high-resolution models are required. We set up a model that accounts for all components of the BHE and verified it using experimental data. The model ensures accurate simulation results but also leads to large numerical meshes and thus high simulation times. In this work, we therefore present a numerical model for each type of BHE (single U, double U and coaxial) that reduces the number of elements and the simulation time significantly for use in larger scale simulations. The numerical model includes all BHE components and represents the temporal and spatial temperature distribution with an accuracy of less than 2% deviation from the fully discretized model. By changing the BHE geometry and using equivalent parameters, the simulation time is reduced by a factor of ~10 for single U-tube BHEs, ~20 for double U-tube BHEs and ~150 for coaxial BHEs. Results of a sensitivity study that quantify the effects of different design and storage formation parameters on temperature distribution and storage efficiency for heat storage using multiple BHEs are then shown. It is found that storage efficiency strongly depends on the number of BHEs composing the storage site, their distance and the cycle time. The temperature distribution is most sensitive to thermal conductivity of both borehole grouting and storage formation while storage efficiency is mainly controlled by the thermal conductivity of the storage formation.