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Title: Evaluation of Analytical and Numerical Techniques for Defining the Radius of Influence for an Open-Loop Ground Source Heat Pump System

In an open-loop groundwater heat pump (GHP) system, groundwater is extracted, run through a heat exchanger, and injected back into the ground, resulting in no mass balance changes to the flow system. Although the groundwater use is non-consumptive, the withdrawal and injection of groundwater may cause negative hydraulic and thermal impacts to the flow system. Because GHP is a relatively new technology and regulatory guidelines for determining environmental impacts for GHPs may not exist, consumptive use metrics may need to be used for permit applications. For consumptive use permits, a radius of influence is often used, which is defined as the radius beyond which hydraulic impacts to the system are considered negligible. In this paper, the hydraulic radius of influence concept was examined using analytical and numerical methods for a non-consumptive GHP system in southeastern Washington State. At this location, the primary hydraulic concerns were impacts to nearby contaminant plumes and a water supply well field. The results of this study showed that the analytical techniques with idealized radial flow were generally unsuited because they over predicted the influence of the well system. The numerical techniques yielded more reasonable results because they could account for aquifer heterogeneities and flow boundaries.more » In particular, the use of a capture zone analysis was identified as the best method for determining potential changes in current contaminant plume trajectories. The capture zone analysis is a more quantitative and reliable tool for determining the radius of influence with a greater accuracy and better insight for a non-consumptive GHP assessment.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 18(9):1170-1179
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Open-loop heat pumps; ground source heat pumps; GHPs; groundwater; radius of influence.