PhD Integrated ATES Triplet Modelling and Assessment

Updated: 19 days ago
Deadline: 01 May 2021

This research project investigates an Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) triplet for nearly self-sufficient heating and cooling of buildings, i.e. heating and cooling without the input of energy from external electricity or gas. ATES systems normally use a heat demand-driven heat pump which uses a substantial amount of electricity. The proposed ATES triplet system consists of three wells as opposed to the typical two wells. The required heat and cooling capacity will all be captured from the environment when available and stored in the subsurface at the temperature level desired for later use. This reduces the primary energy use of an ATES triplet well system to about 5% of a conventional space heating and cooling system. In this project, four researchers cooperate to develop a prototype design for the coupled subsurface/building hydraulic flows and control system of an ATES triplet.

In this PhD project, your task is to optimise thermal energy recovery efficiency. You will assess the impact of design choices (such as well spacing, well design, well operation modes) and assess the interaction with the building system, e.g. control of the triplet wells, the interplay between the three wells and building system, and the combined control of wells and energy delivery to the building. In this technology higher temperature differences than in regular ATES systems are considered. A key task is to make a groundwater model for the triplet wells and connect it to the hydraulic model of the climate installation and the control environment (which are made by other researchers in this project). This model infrastructure is then used to assess how all components function together under various load conditions and control schemes, and how can their performance be optimized for the full system lifetime, i.e. 30 years.

Research method:

You will develop a subsurface model, where hydraulics, porous media flow and coupled thermodynamic processes are incorporated. The model will be developed so that pressure and buoyancy driven flows (flows caused by density differences due to different temperatures) are incorporated, as higher temperatures than regular ATES systems will increase these effects. Additionally, flexible inflow and outflow to wells will be incorporated so that various injection and production strategies can be investigated. The model will be embedded into a hybrid simulation environment produced in the project. This will link with the building and control system also developed within the project (by another researcher) to ensure that realistic usage of the wells is simulated. Development of triplet well groundwater-temperature simulations will investigate the relevance of simulating a 3rd well is to get insight in the interaction between the 3 different wells, how may they affect each other under various multiple year operational conditions. It is of key interest to apply control to the coupled building and subsurface model to optimise operation. Geochemical modelling will be undertaken in a separate model to investigate potential clogging and required water treatment.

The PhD candidate will be hosted at the Geo-Engineering and the Water Resources Sections in TU Delft, but will also work in close cooperation of the researchers in the same project at TU Eindhoven. The supervision committee at TU Delft will be made up of Associate Professor Phil Vardon (promotor), Assistant Professor Martin Bloemendal (Co-promotor) and dr. Niels Hartog (Co-promotor) from KWR (one of the industry partners in the project and the inventor of the triplet idea).

The PhD candidate will be able to take advantage of the ATES triplet project consortium. Which means he/she will work in close collaboration with researchers at TU Eindhoven and partners from industry involved in the project: KWR, Kropman, RHDHV and BodemenergieNL.


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