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Coupling Subsurface and Above-Surface Models for Optimizing the Design of Borefields and District Heating and Cooling Systems

Metadata Updated: June 11, 2023

Accurate dynamic energy simulation is important for the design and sizing of district heating and cooling systems with geothermal heat exchange for seasonal energy storage. Current modeling approaches in building and district energy simulation tools typically consider heat conduction through the ground between boreholes without flowing groundwater. While detailed simulation tools for subsurface heat and mass transfer exist, these fall short in simulating above-surface energy systems.

To support the design and operation of such systems, the study developed a coupled model including a software package for building and district energy simulation, and software for detailed heat and mass transfer in the subsurface. For the first, it uses the open-source Modelica Buildings Library, which includes dynamic simulation models for building and district energy and control systems. For the heat and mass transfer in the soil, it uses the TOUGH simulator. The TOUGH family of codes can model heat and multi-phase, multi-component mass transport for a variety of fluid systems, as well as chemical reactions, in fractured porous media.

The study validated the coupled modeling approach by comparing the simulation results with one from the g-function based ground response model. It then looked into effects when the water table and the regional groundwater flow are considered in the ground, from the perspective of heat exchange between borehole and ground, and the electrical consumption of the district heating and cooling systems.

To access the simulation models, please find the links in the submission: -- For coupled approach validation: see model Buildings.Fluid.Geothermal.Borefields.Examples.BorefieldsWithTough and Buildings.Examples.DistrictReservoirNetworks.Examples.Reservoir3Variable_TOUGH from the "Modelica Building Library" resource, branch issue1495_tough_interface, commit a2667c0. -- For the study of the effect of water table: see model Buildings.Examples.DistrictReservoirNetworks.Examples.Reservoir3Variable_TOUGH from he "Modelica Building Library" resource, branch issue1495_tough_interface_moreIO, commit 760de49. -- For the study of the effect of regional groundwater flow: see Buildings.Examples.DistrictReservoirNetworks.Examples.Reservoir3Variable_TOUGH from he "Modelica Building Library" resource, branch issue1495_tough_interface_moreIO_3D, commit c2a2d2a.

The coupling interface script "" can be found from the above links in the folder Buildings/Resources/Python-Sources. Also, the needed files for TOUGH simulation are in the folder Buildings/Resources/Python-Sources/ToughFiles that can be accessed through the above links. A brief description of these files is given below; detailed specifications for the first three files may be found in the TOUGH3 Users Guide (Jung et al., 2018)

(1) INCON - initial conditions for each grid block (2) INFILE - main input file with material properties and control parameters (3) MESH - description of the computational grid (4) readsave - Modelica/TOUGH interface program: read the final output of TOUGH simulation after TOUGH time step and prepare for transfer to Modelica for next Modelica time step (5) readsave.inp - input parameters for program readsave (6) writeincon - Modelica/TOUGH interface program: write the output of Modelica after Modelica time step and prepare for transfer to TOUGH as initial conditions for the next TOUGH step (7) writeincon.inp - input parameters for program writeincon

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: Creative Commons Attribution

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Metadata Created Date April 26, 2022
Metadata Updated Date June 11, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from OpenEI data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date April 26, 2022
Metadata Updated Date June 11, 2023
Publisher Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Doi 10.15121/1843793
Data First Published 2022-01-31T07:00:00Z
Data Last Modified 2022-02-07T16:56:17Z
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 019:20
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Data Quality True
Harvest Object Id 17b3627f-79b8-4289-b017-533192b522dc
Harvest Source Id 7cbf9085-0290-4e9f-bec1-91653baeddfd
Harvest Source Title OpenEI data.json
Homepage URL
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Program Code 019:006
Projectlead Arlene Anderson
Projectnumber FY21 AOP
Projecttitle Community Resilience through Low-Temperature Geothermal Reservoir Thermal Energy Storage
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