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Title: Coupled thermal-hydrological-mechanical behavior of rock mass surrounding a high-temperature thermal energy storage cavern at shallow depth

The present study is aimed at numerically examining the thermal-hydrological-mechanical (THM) processes within the rock mass surrounding a cavern used for thermal energy storage (TES). We considered a cylindrical rock cavern with a height of 50 m and a radius of 10 m storing thermal energy of 350ºC as a conceptual TES model and simulated its operation for 30 years using THM coupled numerical modeling. At first, the insulator performance was not considered for the purpose of investigating the possible coupled THM behavior of the surrounding rock mass; then, the effects of an insulator were examined for different insulator thicknesses. The key concerns were focused on the hydro-thermal multiphase flow and heat transport in the rock mass around the thermal storage cavern, the effect of evaporation of rock mass, thermal impact on near the ground surface and the mechanical behavior of the surrounding rock mass. It is shown that the rock temperature around the cavern rapidly increased in the early stage and, consequently, evaporation of groundwater occurred, raising the fluid pressure. However, evaporation and multiphase flow did not have a significant effect on the heat transfer and mechanical behavior in spite of the high-temperature (350ºC) heat source. The simulations showedmore » that large-scale heat flow around a cavern was expected to be conductiondominated for a reasonable value of rock mass permeability. Thermal expansion as a result of the heating of the rock mass from the storage cavern led to a ground surface uplift on the order of a few centimeters and to the development of tensile stress above the storage cavern, increasing the potentials for shear and tensile failures after a few years of the operation. Finally, the analysis showed that high tangential stress in proximity of the storage cavern can some shear failure and local damage, although large rock wall failure could likely be controlled with appropriate insulators and reinforcement.« less
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  1. Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), Daejeon (Korean, Republic of)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 83; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1365-1609
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; Thermal-hydrological-mechanical coupled analysis; Thermal energy storage; Rock cavern; TOUGH-FLAC simulator
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1357676