Human-induced load on the environment when using geothermal heat pump wells

Keywords: human-induced load, geothermal well, heat pump


The research is aimed to study the process of change in temperature mode dynamics for the Earth subsurface layer when heat is extracted with geothermal heat pump systems, reveal and disclose specifics of effect on the ecology caused by technologies using geothermal resources and give practical recommendations regarding further development of methods for designing heat pumps using low potential heat energy of soil based on the long-term forecast and efficacy assessment. Mathematical statistics and mathematical model methods were applied for assessment of economic and environmental effects. Methods based on principles of the theory of thermal conductivity, hydromechanics, theory of differential equations and mathematical analysis were applied for calculation of proposed systems and review of field observation findings. The authors had developed for research purposes an experimental geothermal heat pump system consisting of four structurally connected geothermal wells, each with installed U-shaped twin collectors of 200 m overall length, and a heat pump of 14 kW capacity with a heat energy battery for 300 L connected to the building heat-supply system. They also created a computer data archivation and visualisation system and devised a research procedure. The paper provides assessment of the effect caused by changes in the process operation mode of the heat pump system on the soil temperature near the geothermal well. As a result, the authors have found that the higher the intensity of heat energy extraction, the lower the soil temperature near the geothermal heat exchanger, in proportion to the load on the system. Moreover, it has been determined by experimental means that at critical loads on the geothermal heat exchanger the soil temperature is unable to keep up with regeneration and may reach negative values. The research also determined relation between inservice time and season of the system operation and temperature fluctuations of geothermal field. For example, it has been found by experimental means that the heat flow from the well is spread radially, from the well axis to its borders. Additionally, it has been proved that depending on the heat load value, the bed temperature is changed after the time of the first launch. For example, the geothermal field temperature has changed from the time of the first launch during 1-year operation by 0.5 °С in average. The research has proved that depending on the heat load value, under seasonal operation (heating only or cooling only) of the system, the soil temperature has decreased for five years by 2.5 °С and switched to quasi-steady state, meanwhile, stabilisation of the geothermal field in the state under 1-year operation (heating and cooling) occurred yet in the 2nd year of operation. In conclusion, the paper reasonably states that geothermal heat pump systems using vertical heat exchangers installed into the wells put no significant human-induced load on the environment. At the same time, still relevant are issues of scientific approach to development of the required configuration of the geothermal collector, methodology for its optimal placement and determination of efficacy depending on operation conditions.

Author Biographies

Sergii V. Goshovskyi
Ukrainian State Geological Research Institute
Oleksii V. Zurian
Ukrainian State Geological Research Institute


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How to Cite
Goshovskyi, S., & Zurian, O. (2020). Human-induced load on the environment when using geothermal heat pump wells. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 29(1), 57-68.