Thermal Energy Storage


Canada has enormous potential for sustainable thermal energy storage/extraction that is broadly distributed across the country. For instance, Canada’s west coast forms part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which has promising resource for developing a sustainable electrical generation. Despite having an abundant potential, the fundamental R&D and the utilization of these energy-related technologies are scarce. 

 Ground-coupled geothermal energy systems are typically used to augment the heating and cooling loads for residential, agricultural, or industrial applications. The hot or coolth energy is stored in the Earth’s vast-volume, high-pressure subterranean to be used later. In certain circumstances, the system could be located next to a large water body (river or lake) or near an aquifer, which make them subject to a high-pressure groundwater flow that could sweep away most of the stored energy. Here, we re-evaluate the design of the conventional ground-coupled geothermal energy systems and propose novel concepts of selective ground freezing to sustain the stored energy and improve the overall system efficiency. The idea is to create an impervious frozen barrier that suspends the groundwater flow. 
The progression of the frozen body between two freeze pipe under groundwater seepage of 1.4 [m/day] after 1, 5, 20, and 40 hours.
On top of the opportunity to harness the geothermal heat lies an opportunity to store coolth energy. The weather in northern Canada and northern Europe has an ample supply of coolth energy in the winter season that could be stored in the ground with the aid of an innovative thermal energy storage setup that combines the phase-change, and underground energy storage approaches. The primary concept is to store the coolth from the winter season and utilizes the energy in the summers for space cooling. That's it, the system uses the shallow ground as an energy reservoir that absorbs and release the heat in the hot and cold seasons, respectively. 
Temperature contours of the frozen domain (black line) and the freezing pipe for (a) Winter (b) Spring, (c) Summer and (d) Autumn seasons.

Publications


Characterization of an open-loop seasonal thermal energy storage system


Mahmoud Alzoubi, Saad Akhtar, Matthew Fong, Agus Sasmito


International Conference on Applied Energy, (ICAE2017), Cardiff, UK, 2017


Performance evaluation of ground-coupled seasonal thermal energy storage with high resolution weather data: Case study of Calgary Canada


Matthew Fong, Mahmoud Alzoubi, Agus Sasmito, Jundika Kurnia


nternational Conference on Applied Energy (ICAE2018), Hong Kong, China, 2018


On the performance of ground coupled seasonal thermal energy storage for heating and cooling: A Canadian context


M. Fong, M. Alzoubi, J. C. Kurnia, A. Sasmito


Applied Energy, vol. 250, 2019