Numerical thermal back-calculation of the Kerava Solar Village underground thermal energy storage

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With increasing pressure to reduce the fraction of energy coming from fossil fuels, there is an increased need for research into feasible, and sustainable energy sources, such as solar energy. The problem with solar energy is the mismatch between supply and demand, and so the energy needs to be stored. This research paper is a part of the project titled “Tackling the Challenges of a Solar-Community Concept in High Latitudes”, and aims in helping to design a thermal energy storage system for southern Finland that is economically feasible and has a high performance. For this purpose, a back-calculation of the underground thermal energy storage (UTES) of the Kerava Solar Village was performed. The main objective was to calibrate the numerical models to be used in an optimization by quantifying the thermal properties of the surrounding granite and soil. The UTES of the Kerava Solar Village consisted of a rock pit filled with water and two surrounding rings of boreholes. From the 1st of June until the 31st of August 1984, the rock pit was continuously charged, and the energy flows from the boreholes were negligible. COMSOL Multiphysics 5.2® was used to create a model in which the temperature of the rock pit was used as the heat source and the heat propagation through the surrounding rock as the output to which the historical data was compared. The best replication of the historical temperature inside the rock near the surface was achieved with a conductivity of 2.8 and 1.0 W/(m•K) for granite and soil respectively. When looking at the deeper sections, the best fit was obtained for a conductivity of 5.5 and 1.0 W/(m•K) for granite and soil respectively. These results are conflicting, and outside the realistic range for granite, and so the thermal conductivity could not be estimated with confidence. The main problem throughout the back-calculation was the lack of data. To perform a successful back-calculation, all the parameters of the system need to be known, such as the geology, hydrology, and detailed technical drawings, but also the temperature distribution inside the heat source, and heat storage medium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-360
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventISRM European Rock Mechanics Symposium - Ostrava, Czech Republic
Duration: 20 Jun 201722 Jun 2017


  • Back-calculation
  • Kerava Solar Village
  • Underground Thermal Energy Storage
  • Numerical modelling
  • Finite Element Method


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