KWR Niels Hartog by KWR Niels Hartog
05 July 2018

ATES system considered for the eco-redevelopment of an old Ford plant in St. Paul, USA

There's still only a few aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) systems in the USA running. In the redevelopment of a former Ford plant into an eco-urban area, ATES is being considered, and The Netherlands are being recognized as front-runners in the application of these systems. Too often however, as in the description in this article, the S (storage) part in ATES is neglected. And without storage ATES acts as a thermal pump-and-dump system under utilizing it's energy saving potential. Yes, you can extract thermal energy from groundwater using a heatpump for either cooling or heating using a heatpump. And that groundwater has a constant temperature. However, when harvesting heat in summer, while cooling the building, that can be stored in the aquifer at elevated temperatures. This warmed-up groundwater can be used in winter to heat up buildings while minimizing the (peak) demand for electricity by the heat pump use. That leaves more of the produced solar power to the people. ...

How an Ambitious Minnesota Eco-Project Became a Density Battleground

Ford’s Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota opened in 1925 to build Model Ts in a state-of-the-art facility powered by a hydroelectric dam on the Mississippi River. At its peak, the factory employed 1,800 well-paid UAW workers in a 2 million-square-foot facility about 7 miles from both downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. When the last vehicle, a Ranger pickup truck, rolled off its line just before Christmas in 2011, it was Ford Motors’ oldest factory. About 7 million vehicles were built here over 86 years. The closure left behind an economic hole in St. Paul, and a formidable environmental challenge: The site was laced with residue from decades of automaking—petroleum compounds, paint solvents, lead, and arsenic. Today, all that remains of the Ford factory is an expansive tract of bare land in the middle of the middle-class Highland Park neighborhood, where a lone smokestack juts up from the old steam plant. The top layer of heavily contaminated dirt has been scraped away and piled up in mounds underneath plastic covers, waiting to be removed. Diesel shovels and other heavy equipment dot the grounds. But the Ford site is poised for a dramatic rebirth: Over the next 20 years, these 122...

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