The second online workshop of ENeRAG on Shallow geothermal energy: from the ground to buildings, from the field to modelling was held between 30 November and 3 December 2020. The workshop has raised significant interest worldwide, as due to the online organization it was accessible not just for ENeRAG participants, but for project outsiders as well. Around 100 participants (including the lecturers and organizers) of the 242 applicants had actively attended the workshop.  

The lectures had been interesting, advanced-minded and forward-thinking. Besides theoretical aspects, practical examples have enriched the program. 

The workshop aimed at providing the attendants with an overview of current practices and research advances in the field of shallow geothermal energy (SGE), which is a promising solution within the European Green Deal.

The main topics that were treated during the workshop include:

  • Overview of current regulations and European frameworks and funding opportunities involving SGE research and innovation.
  • Introduction to the technical aspects related to modelling flow and heat transport in the subsurface
  • Local vs regional-scale modelling analysis to quantify the potential energy release from aquifers
  • Design, installation and modelling of closed-loop systems (specific subtopics including thermal request, depending on the building function and climatic conditions; thermal exchange capability of the ground).
  • gDesign, installation and modelling of open-loop systems, with emphasis on role of advective fluxes, soils heterogeneities.
  • Examples of real-life applications and modelling of open- and closed-loop systems in different soils and geological conditions, from fine-grained to coarse-grained sediments. Examples covered A2A Canavese open-loop plants in Milan (Italy), borehole heat exchangers in Milan (Italy), aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) in Lahti (Finland).
  • Overview of energy geostructures (energy piles, energy walls and energy tunnels). Examples of applications and modelling to assess thermo-mechanical interactions and energy performance, including a piloting tunnel in Turin (Italy).

Let’s see some moments from each day of the workshops:

Day 1 – 30 November 2020, Monday

The opening of the event was a welcome note by Daniele Pedretti and Francesco Cecinato (UMIL), main researchers of the ENeRAG project. A short speech was presented by Judit Mádl-Szőnyi (ELTE, scientific coordinator of ENeRAG), who introduced the goals and the scientific approach of the ENeRAG project and talked about the framework of the workshop.

Opening session with Judit Mádl-Szőnyi (ELTE), the scientific coordinator of ENeRAG. Introduction of the project and the workshop

The first session was:  Introduction and overview of shallow geothermal systems

After the Introduction of geothermal systems and introductions to speakers and programme by Francesco Cecinato (UMIL, Italy), the first talk was given by Daniele Pedretti (UMIL, Italy) on:” Shallow geothermal energy: a «hot topic » for Europe’s political agenda”. The other lecturers of the session were: Ádám Tóth, (ELTE, Hungary) on    “Understanding the shallow geothermal potential in light of basin-scale groundwater flow and heat transport processes”,Teppo Arola, (GTK, Finland) with “The Lahti ATES – experiences and monitoring results” and Alessandro Casasso, (POLITO, Italy) on “Numerical modelling support in addressing design issues of open-loop geothermal systems”

Snapshots from Session  1

Day 2 – 1 December 2020, Tuesday

The second Session was: Analysis and design of vertical closed-loop geothermal heat exchangers. Lectures were given by Giorgia Dalla Santa, (UNIPD,’ Italy) on “Geological and geotechnical insights related to vertical borehole heat exchangers design and realization”, Matteo Antelmi, (POLIMI, Italy) on “ Innovative numerical methods for Borehole Heat Exchangers simulation and Thermal Response Test interpretation” and Francesco Cecinato, (UNIMI, Italy) with “Thermal and geotechnical analysis of thermo-active foundation piles”

Snapshots from Session  2

Day 3 – 2 December 2020, Wednesday

The third Session was “Design and application of open-loop geothermal power plant systems”. The session included the lecture by  Stefano Lo Russo, POLITO, Italy) on “ Planning and design of low-enthalpy geothermal power plant (open-loop)” and the “extended”  one by  Mauro Colombo, Lucio Della Pona, Massimo. Magon, (A2A Calore e Servizi, Italy) on “  Geothermal heat pump on Canavese power plant: a district heating application in Milan” 

Snapshots from Session  3

Day 4 – 3 December 2020, Thursday

The fourth Session on day four was:  Analysis and design of energy tunnels and walls. The session included the lecture by Marco Barla, POLITO, Italy, on “ Energy tunnels: concept, design aspects and applications, and the “extended” one by Donatella Sterpi, POLIMI, Italy on “Energy walls: thermal performance and structural behavior”

Snapshots from Session  4