Potential impact of hydrodynamic shear force in aquifer thermal energy storage on dissolved organic matter releasement: A vigorous shaking batch study

Zhuobiao Ni, Xiao Li, Yafei Wang, Yue Wang, Rongliang Qiu*, Huub Rijnaarts, Tim Grotenhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The combination of bioremediation and aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) has become attractive because of the possibility of solving environmental and energy problems simultaneously. While the impact of ATES on groundwater quality due to temperature change has received ample attention in literature, the effect of the greatly enhanced groundwater flow velocity on groundwater quality has not yet received sufficient scientific attention. To fill this gap in understanding, we conducted a simple yet straightforward experiment to illustrate the impact of hydrodynamic shear force due to the water flow by ATES on the release of dissolved organic matter, which can potentially be advantageous to bioremediation. Vigorous shaking conditions were applied to simulate the enhanced dynamics at the ATES well center and nearby. As the indicators of dissolved organic matter, COD and TOC concentrations were significantly impacted by shaking. COD increased from 5.4 mgO 2 /L to 36.3 mgO 2 /L during horizontal shaking. The maximum COD level was determined as 33.8 mgO 2 /L during orbital shaking, while the TOC level was growing from 6.7 to 28.7 mg C/L. Meanwhile, redox potential (with initial level -100 mV) was decreasing to -450 mV synchronously with the elevating COD and TOC level. Temperature was also revealed as a significant factor in the organic matter releasement. Microbial iron reduction was deemed to occur, yet sulfate reduction was not initiated during the whole experiment. Eventually, the structure of the soil-water matrix has been changed due to the extensive hydraulic and particle collisions, resulting in blackish appearance and thicker layer of fine particles. Overall, the findings advance our understanding of the role of the ATES-induced water flow in the subsurface biogeochemistry and give insight into the perspective of the combination of bioremediation and ATES. In general, an increase in dissolved organic matter can be expected due to the increased shear force at high flow conditions in the ATES system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-271
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2019


  • Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES)
  • Bioremediation
  • COD
  • Dissolved organic matter (DOM)
  • Hydrodynamic shear force
  • TOC

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