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Integration aspects of ATES in urban district heating networks

In progressively decarbonized district heating systems with high shares of renewable energies, seasonal large-scale heat storage systems are a central component for overcoming the seasonal offset between heat generation and demand. In addition to Pit Thermal Energy Storages (PTES), which often encounter high spatial resistance in urban contexts, Aquifer Thermal Energy Storages (ATES) in the three geothermal regions in Germany offer a suitable solution for large-scale and cost-effective thermal energy storage with high surface area efficiency. Currently, however, there is no operating high-temperature ATES in Germany that is integrated into an urban heating network. The focus of this presentation is on aspects of interaction between aquifer storage, large-scale heat pumps and district heating networks in Germany.

The framework conditions for the technical integration of heat from aquifer storage are subject to constant change. On the one hand, district heating systems are usually operated with sliding supply and return temperatures, on the other hand, the temperature continuously decreases during discharging period.

This requires different solutions for the integration of aquifer storage, which are to be systematized and classified. Central integration possibilities are the direct use in supply line, the increase of the return temperature as well as the use of large heat pumps.

The lecture will present the findings from the research project "OptInAquiFer" on reasonable integration possibilities of aquifer storage in German district heating networks. In addition, current research on large-scale HP configurations will be highlighted to identify suitable and efficient HP capacities, refrigerants and HP configurations for ATES applications.


Nikolai Strodel1, Tobias Zimmermann1, Henrik Pieper1
1HIR Hamburg Institut Research gGmbH, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023