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01.07.2013 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2013

Environmental Earth Sciences 6/2013

Impacts of subsurface heat storage on aquifer hydrogeochemistry

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 6/2013
Autoren:
Anna Jesußek, Sibylle Grandel, Andreas Dahmke

Abstract

The use of shallow aquifers for subsurface heat storage in terms of energy management and building climatisation can lead to a temperature rise in the aquifer to 70 °C and above. The influence of temperature changes on individual mineral and sorption equilibria, reaction kinetics and microbial activity is largely known. However, the impact of heating to temperatures as high as 70 °C on the aquifer overall system has not been quantified yet. Temperature-related changes in sediment ion exchange behaviour, dimension and rates of mineral dissolution and precipitation as well as microbially enhanced redox processes were studied in column experiments using aquifer sediment and tap water at 10, 25, 40, and 70 °C. At 70 °C, a change in sediment sorption behaviour for cations and organic acids was postulated based on temporal changes in pH, magnesium, and potassium concentration in the experimental solution. No clear changes of pH, TIC and major cations were found at 10–40 °C. Redox zoning shifted from oxic conditions towards nitrate and iron(III) reducing conditions at 25 and 40 °C and sulphate reducing conditions at 70 °C. This was attributed to (a) a temperature-related increase in microbial reduction activity, and (b) three times higher release of organic carbon from the sediment at 70 °C compared to the lower temperatures. The findings of this study predict that a temperature increase in the subsurface up to 25 °C and above can impair the usability of ground water as drinking and process water, by reducing metal oxides and thus possibly releasing heavy metals from the sediment. Generally, at 70 °C, where clear cation and organic carbon desorption processes were observed and sulphate reducing conditions could be achieved, a site-specific assessment of temperature effects is required, especially for long-term operations of subsurface heat storage facilities.

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