Characterization of Subsurface Heat-Transport Processes in the Canton of Aargau Using an Integrative Workflow
Jan NIEDERAU, Anozie EBIGBO, Martin O. SAAR
[Geothermal Energy and Geofluids Group, Switzerland]
In a referendum in May 2017, Switzerland decided to phase out nuclear power in favor of further developing renewable energy sources. One of these energy sources is geothermal energy, which, as a base-load technology, fills a niche complementary to solar and wind energy. A known heat-flow anomaly exists in the Canton of Aargau in northern Switzerland, at least near the land surface. With measured specific heat-flow values of up to 140 mW m-2, it is an area of interest for deep geothermal energy exploration. In a pilot study, which started in late 2018, we want to characterize the heat-flow distribution in the vicinity of the anomaly in more detail to facilitate future assessment of the geothermal potential of this region. To achieve a complete characterization of the heat-flow values as well as their spatial uncertainty, we develop a workflow comprising: (i) assimilation and homogenization of different types of geologic data, (ii) development of a geological model with focus on heat transport, and (iii) numerical simulations of the dominant heat-transport processes. With its nature as a pilot study, the developed workflow needs to be integrative and adapable. This means that data generated during the course of the project can easily be integrated in the modeling and simulation process, and that the generated workflow should easily be adaptable to other regions in potential future studies. One further goal of this project is that the generated models and simulations provide insights into the nature of the heat-flow anomaly in northern Switzerland and to test the hypothesis that upward migration of deep geothermal fluids along structural pathways is the origin of this particular heat-flow anomaly.
|        Topic: Exploration||Paper Number: 11116|