New Publication in Journal of Hydrology describes method facilitating urban geothermal resources management

graphical abstract of the paper

Interest in geothermal heat as a renewable energy source is growing. However, the extraction of geothermal energy has an impact on groundwater quality and affects the further availability of such energy sources. A study published in the Journal of Hydrology, led by Miguel Angel Marazuela from Thilo Hofmann's research group, describes a novel method that facilitates recording and monitoring the status and changes in the energy situation. Hence, the new approach supports the management of geothermal resources in cities.

Together with colleagues from the Geological Survey of Spain and the University of La Laguna (Tenerife), the environmental geoscientists from Vienna propose an approach based on polar coordinates to assess the geothermal impact of shallow geothermal installations on urban aquifers. Aquifers are water-saturated rock layers that conduct groundwater. In addition, the researchers exemplarily apply their methodology to the aquifer of the city of Zaragoza in order to quantify the trend of geothermal impacts over the last decade. The results of the studies allow 1) assess the current thermal state of any aquifer globally, 2) evaluate the trend of temperature over time to facilitate the design of preventive/corrective measures and 3) monitor the effectiveness of the implemented measures.