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Determining fracture properties by tracer and thermal testing to assess thermal breakthrough risks for ground source heating and cooling in the Chalk

Law, R. and Mackay, R. (2010) Determining fracture properties by tracer and thermal testing to assess thermal breakthrough risks for ground source heating and cooling in the Chalk. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 43 (3). p. 269. ISSN 1470-9236

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/1470-9236/08-089

Identification Number/DOI: doi:10.1144/1470-9236/08-089

Numerous open loop ground energy systems are under construction or have been constructed in central London. The majority of these systems use the Chalk aquifer as a water source. A significant proportion of the abstracted water must be returned to the aquifer to maintain groundwater levels. If the ground system is to function correctly, the temperature of the abstracted groundwater must not be altered significantly by early thermal breakthrough of the returned water. Groundwater flow within the Chalk is predominantly through fractures and these provide the primary route by which thermal breakthrough might take place. The nature of the fracturing and its impact on the thermal transport beneath a proposed site must be understood to provide confidence that the ground energy system will function correctly. Two tracer and thermal test methods to determine fracture properties are examined. The results suggest that the flow in the Chalk is carried by a small number of fractures and that careful modelling and interpretation can provide valuable constraints on the frequency of fractures, their spatial pattern and their hydraulic aperture. The results highlight difficulties for designing within borehole temperature monitoring systems for fractured aquifer thermal experiments.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2010 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects:G Geography (General)
GB Physical geography
GE Environmental Sciences
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Geological Society
ID Code:455
Refereed:YES
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