Development of concepts for the management of thermal resources in urban areas

In urban areas the shallow subsurface often is used as a heat resource (so-called shallow geothermal energy), i.e. for the installation and operation of a broad variety of geothermal systems. At the same time, groundwater is increasingly used as a cheap cooling medium, e.g. for buildings. Further impacts like the so-called urban heat island effect also influence the thermal regime in the subsurface. As a result, significantly increased groundwater temperatures have been observed in many urban areas.

The cooperation partners propose the development of concepts and methods for the management of thermal resources in urban areas. For two selected case study cities in Basel (CH) and Zaragoza (S) already comprehensive monitoring networks (hydraulics and temperature) as well as calibrated high-resolution numerical heat-transport models have been developed by the individual collaboration partners (Epting et al. 2013; Epting and Huggenberger2013; Garcia Gil et al. 2014). This previous work showed that an understanding of the variable influences of hydraulic and thermal boundary conditions due to specific geological and hydrogeological conditions in urban settings is crucial. It also could be shown that good quality data are necessary to appropriately define and investigate thermal boundary conditions and the temperature development in urban systems.

The STSM involved several meetings with different scientist of the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAE) that are involved in urban hydrogeological issues. Furthermore, a collective work effort has been carried out on the existing data-sets of Zaragoza and Basel and synthesize the different hydraulic and thermal boundary conditions for both groundwater bodies. The transferability of the applied methods will be discussed in the scientific community.

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