From Science Daily:

Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) is more than a renewable energy source. The storage and extraction of heat and cold can remediate polluted groundwater ten times faster than existing technologies. PhD candidate Zhuobiao Ni of Wageningen University presented this conclusion in his thesis, which he will defend on 8 December.

Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) collects heat from buildings in summer and stores it in groundwater. In winter, this energy is used to heat homes or other buildings. This technology can be used to create an optimal environment at home or in the office in summer and winter, without the use of fossil fuels.

Contaminated groundwater

ATES systems are currently used only with clean groundwater, due to fear of spreading soil contamination. However, the Netherlands has approximately 11,000 locations where soil contamination entails risks for current or future use. This contamination is often caused by chlorinated solvents from former dry cleaning businesses. These contaminated sites are found mainly in cities, where ATES is ideal. Pumping the contaminated groundwater to a treatment facility is possible, but this remediation process takes 20 to 30 years. On-site biological soil remediation takes nearly as long to break down these contaminants, and is very expensive.

Faster soil remediation

However, Wageningen PhD candidate Zhuobiao Ni has now shown that ATES accelerates biological soil remediation. This system is similar to a washing machine: the contaminated groundwater moves back and forth in the underground tubes used for thermal storage. The micro-organisms that ‘eat’ the contamination become attached to…

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