Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Current numerical modeling solutions used for subsurface heat flow, such as the Berkeley TOUGH codes, are often difficult to use and time-consuming compared to analytical modeling methods. However, current analytical modeling methods for subsurface heat flow and groundwater cannot accurately model the subsurface in 3 dimensions, a feature paramount to the planning and installation of thermal borehole heat exchangers used in environmental remediation.
This research developed a novel 3-dimensional analytical modeling tool for solar-powered borehole heat exchangers. The analytical modeling tool can plan thermal remediation systems while being more straightforward to operate than current numerical modeling software. By creating a publicly available tool to enable the efficient installation of solar borehole heat exchangers, this research aims to further the reach of remediation systems by optimizing their implementation, ultimately reducing groundwater contamination which harms our limited freshwater reserves and the environment.
The 3-dimensional analytical modeling tool features a novel analytically based mathematical solution for heat flow with in-depth features similar to more complicated numerical models. The program can model heat conduction from multiple borehole heat exchangers in 3 dimensions with variable heat flow rates while accounting for surface boundary conditions and groundwater flow. The model can plot temperature readings and map thermal contours at any location. These novel features were then validated by testing the analytical model against the proven numerical TOUGH EOS1 and EOS3 numerical modeling codes. In addition, the model was tested against two field sites where the model developed here proved accurate when applied to real-world data.
Ornelles, Adam, "Development and Validation of an Analytical Modeling Tool for Solar Borehole Heat Exchangers" (2021). All Theses. 3691.