The thermophysical properties of subsurface materials (soils, sediments and rocks) and groundwater flow strongly affect the heat exchange rates of ground heat exchangers (GHEs). These rates can be maximized and the installation costs of the ground-coupled heat pump (GCHP) systems reduced by developing suitability maps based on local geological and hydrological information. Such maps were generated for the Chikushi Plain (western Japan) using field-survey data and a numerical modeling study. First, a field-wide groundwater model was developed for the area and the results matched against measured groundwater levels and vertical temperature profiles. Single GHE models were then constructed to simulate the heat exchange performance at different locations in the plain. Finally, suitability maps for GCHP systems were prepared using the results from the single GHE models. Variations in the heat exchange rates of over 40% revealed by the map were ascribed to differences in the GHE locations, confirming how important it is to use appropriate thermophysical data when designing GCHP systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology