Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage : Impact on groundwater chemistry

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: Groundwater is potentially a useful source for storing and providing thermal energy to the built environment. In a nordic context, aquifer thermal energy storage, (ATES) has not been subject to a wider extent of research concerning environmental impact. This thesis intends to study the impact on groundwater chemistry from an ATES that has been operational since 2016 and is located in the northern part of Stockholm, on a glaciofluvial deposit called the Stockholm esker. Analysis of groundwater sampling included a period of 9 months prior to ATES operation as well as a 7 month period after operation and sampling was conducted in a group of wells in vicinity of the installation and within the system as ATES operation began. Means of evaluation constituted a statistical approach which included Kruskal-Wallis test by ranks, to compare the ATES wells with the wells in the surroundings and principal component analysis, (PCA), to study the chemical parameters that could be related to ATES. In addition, a geophysical survey comprising 2D-resistivity and induced polarization, (IP) was done to elucidate whether the origin of high salinity could be traced to nearby possible sources. The analysis was based on foremost the cycle of cold energy storage. The results showed large variations in redox potential, particularly at the cold wells which likely was due to the mixing of groundwater considering the different depths of groundwater being abstracted/injected from different redox zones. Arsenic, which has shown to be sensitive to high temperatures in other research showed a decrease in concentration compared to surrounding wells. There were found to be a lower specific conductivity and total hardness at the ATES well compared to their vicinity. That indicates that they are less subject to salinization and that no accumulation has occurred to date. It is evident that the environmental impact from ATES is governed by the pre-conditions in soil- and groundwater.

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