Assessing the impact of thermal feedback and recycling in open-loop groundwater heat pump (GWHP) systems: a complementary design tool = Estimation de l'impact de la contre-réaction et de la recirculation dans les systèmes de pompe à chaleur sur nappe souterraine en boucle ouverte (GWHP): un outil de conceptuel complémentaire

Milnes, Ellen ; Perrochet, Pierre

In: Hydrogeology Journal, 2013, vol. 21, no. 2, p. 505-514

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    Thermal feedback and thermal recycling in open-loop groundwater heat pump (GWHP) systems occurs when a fraction of the injected water in a well doublet returns to the production well. They reflect two different mathematical representations of the same physical process. Thermal feedback assumes a constant injection temperature, while thermal recycling couples the injection and production temperatures by a constant temperature difference. It is shown that thermal feedback, commonly used in GWHP design, and recycling reflect two thermal end-members. This work addresses the coupled problem of thermal recycling, which is, so far, the missing link for complete GWHP assessment. An analytical solution is presented to determine the return-flow fraction in a well doublet and is combined with a heat-balance calculation to determine the steady-state well temperatures in response to thermal feedback and recycling. This is then extended to advective-dispersive systems using transfer functions, revealing that the well temperatures in response to thermal feedback and recycling are functions of the capture probability. Conjunctive interpretation of thermal feedback and recycling yields a novel design approach with which major difficulties in the assessment of the sustainability of GWHP systems can be addressed