Interest in the combination concept of aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) and enhanced bioremediation has recently risen due to the demand for both renewable energy technology and sustainable groundwater management in urban areas. However, the impact of enhanced bioremediation on ATES is not yet clear. Of main concern is the potential for biological clogging which might be enhanced and hamper the proper functioning of ATES. On the other hand, more reduced conditions in the subsurface by enhanced bioremediation might lower the chance of chemical clogging, which is normally caused by Fe(III) precipitate. To investigate the possible effects of enhanced bioremediation on clogging with ATES, we conducted two recirculating column experiments with differing flow rates (10 and 50 mL/min), where enhanced biological activity and chemically promoted Fe(III) precipitation were studied by addition of lactate and nitrate respectively. The pressure drop between the influent and effluent side of the column was used as a measure of the (change in) hydraulic conductivity, as indication of clogging in these model ATES systems. The results showed no increase in upstream pressure during the period of enhanced biological activity (after lactate addition) under both flow rates, while the addition of nitrate lead to significant buildup of the pressure drop. However, at the flow rate of 10 mL/min, high pressure buildup caused by nitrate addition could be alleviated by lactate addition. This indicates that the risk of biological clogging is relatively small in the investigated areas of the mimicked ATES system that combines enhanced bioremediation with lactate as substrate, and furthermore that lactate may counter chemical clogging.
- Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES)
- Enhanced bioremediation
- Fe(III) precipitate
- Pressure drop