22 Mar 2023
 | 22 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

City-scale heating and cooling with Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES)

Ruben Stemmle, Haegyeong Lee, Philipp Blum, and Kathrin Menberg

Abstract. Sustainable and climate-friendly space heating and cooling is of great importance for the energy transition. Compared to conventional energy sources, Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) systems can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from space heating and cooling. Hence, the objective of this study is to quantify the technical potential of shallow low-temperature ATES systems in terms of reclaimable energy in the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. Based on 3D heat transport modeling, heating and cooling power densities are determined for various hydrogeological subsurface characteristics and ATES configurations. High groundwater flow velocities of up to 13 m d-1 cause high storage energy loss limiting power densities to a maximum of 3.2 W m-2. Nevertheless, comparison of these power densities with the existing thermal energy demands shows that ATES systems can achieve substantial heating and cooling supply rates. This is especially true for the cooling demand, for which a full supply by ATES is determined for 92 % of all residential buildings in the study area. For ATES heating alone, potential greenhouse gas emission savings of up to about 70,000 tCO2eq a-1 are calculated, which equals about 40 % of the current greenhouse gas emissions caused by space and water heating in the study areas’ residential building stock. The modeling approach proposed in this study can also be applied in other regions with similar hydrogeological conditions to obtain estimations of local ATES supply rates and support city-scale energy planning.

Ruben Stemmle et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2023-62', Jannis Epting, 30 Apr 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2023-62', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 May 2023

Ruben Stemmle et al.

Ruben Stemmle et al.


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Short summary
Using 3D numerical heat transpot models, this study quantifies the potential of low-temperature Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) in an urban setting in Southwest Germany. Comparing the determined potential with existing heating and cooling demands shows substantial heating and cooling supply rates that could be achieved by a widespread application of ATES systems. The study also highlights possible greenhouse gas emission savings compared to conventional heating and cooling technologies.