11 June 2018

The Netherlands leading in Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage

In a recent review by Chinese scientists, studies on the system performance of aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) are evaluated. The Netherlands is recognized as the global technological leader on ATES systems.

ATES has enormous potential to reduce CO2 emissions world-wide

The authors from the Key Laboratory of Efficient Utilization of Low and Medium Grade Energy at Tianjin University in China published their global review on ATES in Energy Procedia in December 2017. They stress the high potential of ATES systems to strongly contribute to reducing carbon footprints, as was determined by KWR researcher Martin Bloemendal in 2015. In the review the latest studies related to thermal performance and economic and environmental of ATES systems are evaluated. They conclude that the minimal energy saving of ATES systems is 40% and that the payback time is always less than 5 years. Although I think it should be said that the actual numbers will depend strongly on the local hydrogeological and ATES operation-specific conditions, this conclusion nicely illustrates the enormous global potential of ATES systems in general to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Missing from the review is the insight that storage in ATES systems at higher temperatures (~>40 C) brings the added benefit of not requiring a heat pump, which leads to further significant further reduction in remaining energy requirements as compared to low-temperature ATES systems.

“Currently, ATES systems are mostly constructed and used in the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, France, Germany, the US and so on with Netherland as the technological leader”

Schematic overview of seasonal ATES operation. Heat pump added to figure to illustrate that a heat pump is required for heating when using low-temperature ATES.