Kathleen Smits, Ph.D., P.E.

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Smits Research Group - Research (Increasing the Efficiency of Soil Borehole Thermal Energy Storage Systems)

SBTES 2D Experimental-Numerical Study

Current study is aimed at better understanding of coupled heat and mass transfer on Soil Borehole Thermal Energy Storage (SBTES) systems. The study was started by performing a series of 2D experiments using the apparatus shown in following figures. The tank was instrumented with moisture and temperature sensors and heat was applied using two aluminum plates located in two sides of soils. Data collected from experiments on different soils was later used to develop a numerical model.

Following figure shows a sample result of numerical model (convective and conductive heat fluxes). This model can be utilized to investigate the influence of different hydraulic and thermal parameterizations on SBTES system efficiency

SBTES 3D Experimental-Numerical Study

Followed by 2D tests, laboratory tests will be performed using an intermediate three dimensional tank as shown below.

Above: Preliminary simulation of heat transfer in 3D tank (1/4 of the domain)