Impact of a Thermo-Hydraulic Insulation Layer on the Long-Term Response of Soil-Borehole Thermal Energy Storage Systems

Tugce Baser, John S. McCartney, Ali Moradi, Kathleen Smits, Ning Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Abstract

This study focuses on the effect of including a surficial insulation layer above a soil-borehole thermal energy storage (SBTES) system installed in a low plasticity clay deposit in the vadose zone. SBTES systems function by injecting heat collected from solar thermal panels into an array of vertical boreholes containing closed-loop geothermal heat exchangers. The goal of placing an insulation layer on top of the soil layer is to retain as much heat as possible within the borehole array to increase the efficiency by preventing the heat loss from the system to the atmosphere. A two-dimensional (2D), transient finite element model was built in COMSOL to consider the coupled heat transfer and water flow processes in the unsaturated soil layer within the SBTES system. Results indicate that presence of an insulation layer leads to a lower upward heat loss from SBTES system, but it is not significant. The insulation was observed to play a more significant role when coupled heat transfer and water flow was considered than when heat transfer was due to conduction alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Volume2016-January
Issue number270 GSP
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd Geo-Chicago Conference: Geotechnics for Sustainable Energy, Geo-Chicago 2016 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Aug 14 2016Aug 18 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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