Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage in Saturated Sand Layers with Vertical Heat Exchangers - TESSAS, Final Report

Project ID: ERK6-CT-1999-00016
Funded under: FP5-EESD


A continuous heat flow from the centre of the earth to our living environment, represents 2,5 times more energy than total mankind consumption at the moment. Enough energy is available inside the earth mass, in order to cover total human energy consumption for the rest of the life span of our planet. Regrettably, the available temperature level of this giant heat release, is too low for use in typical human heat demanding processes to exploit for the production of materials, heating houses, etc. This illustrates how availability and use of thermal energy doesn't (always) match with each other. Every year, huge energy amounts are lost just by this typical mismatch. When thermal energy supply and demand is not balanced, storage is necessary. For long-term storage of a high quantity of thermal energy (MWhs - GWhs), ATES (Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage) or BTES (Borehole Thermal Energy Storage) will be the most favourable technique. An ATES system uses groundwater as a heat transfer medium to bring heat or cold into the underground. A BTES system uses vertical heat exchangers in order to heat up or cool down the sediments.
The general objective of TESSAS (High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage in Saturated Sand Layers with Vertical Heat Exchangers) was to perform research on an underground thermal energy storage system, on a real scale. The system will be constructed in a water-saturated sand layer, and equipped with vertical heat exchangers (U-pipes). The store will be charged during summertime, at a temperature of (approximately) 90°C, by means of a district heating system (waste heat from a coal fired power plant). During winter, the stored heat will be recovered and used for heating a building of 3,700 m(2). Storage of heat at high temperatures has the advantage that heat can be used directly, without heat pumps.

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