Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2017

Posted August 26, 2017

Event: September 19, 2017

GSE/CGS Colloquium: Dr. Jasmin Raymond, géo., Professeur, Institut national de la recherche scientifique - Assessment of the subsurface thermal conductivity for geothermal applications

Location: Woodvale Facility, Tournament Room, 4540-50 Street

Time: 11:30am Registration, 12:00pm Lunch, 12:30pm Presentation

Cost: (In advance) $25 Members, $35 Non-Members, $10 Students
(At the door) $30 Members, $40 Non-Members, $15 Students

Please register for this event using the Google Form below by September 15, 2017.

The construction of green buildings using geothermal energy requires geo-scientists and engineers to evaluate the thermal state and properties of the ground. In situ assessment of the subsurface temperature and thermal conductivity is commonly performed to design the heating and cooling system of commercial buildings with ground-coupled heat pumps. Those two parameters have a high impact on the operating temperature of ground heat exchangers (GHEs), consequently affecting the length of boreholes needed to fulfill the energy needs and the savings provided by the system. The demand for such services has increased rapidly since the geothermal heat pump market in Canada grew by more than 35% from 2006 to 2009. A review of field methods used to measure the subsurface thermal conductivity in the scope of geothermal system design will be presented during the Canadian Geotechnical Colloquium.

The most commonly used method for direct assessments is the thermal response test (TRT) fully developed in the 90's with mobile apparatus. The TRT consists of circulating heated water in a pilot GHE installed in a borehole, where temperature and flow rate are monitored. The transient temperature response is analyzed to evaluate the subsurface thermal conductivity. Heat injection can also be achieved with a heating cable inserted into the GHE to conduct a TRT without flowing water, the latter being affected by surface temperature variations. An apparatus with heating cable sections has recently been developed to keep a low power requirement, hence facilitating the test. Indirect methods are now emerging as alternatives to TRTs. Interpretation of geophysical well logs are a viable option to infer the subsurface thermal conductivity. The inverse modeling of a temperature profile measured in an exploration well can further help to assess the subsurface thermal conductivity, when knowing the terrestrial heat flow. In Canada, the terrestrial heat flow has been determined over 40% of the territory, restricting the interpretation of temperature profiles to specific regions. Laboratory measurements performed on samples collected in surface outcrops or drilled cores can finally be achieved. For example, thermal conductivity data have been synthesized through a thermostratigraphic assessment of the St. Lawrence Lowlands to evaluate the geothermal potential of this sedimentary basin. Geostatistical simulations were then carried out to map the spatial distribution of the subsurface thermal conductivity at the urban district scale to the north of Montreal. Such projects will be presented to highlight geothermal research trends relevant to geotechnicians involved in the building industry.

Interested in geothermal energy, Professor Jasmin Raymond is conducting research work on low to medium temperature resources, including heat pump systems. The main objective of his projects, done in collaboration with geothermal designers, operators and manufacturers, is to improve the efficiency and profitability systems by providing scientific and technological innovations. Field testing and numerical modeling are the main activities he carries out.

Mr. Raymond is a hydrogeologist and he teaches geothermal energy basics at Institut national de la recherche scientifique in Quebec City. He obtained his Ph.D. at Laval University and a B.Sc. at McGill University. During his young career, he received numerous prices such as a Banting Scholarship for his postdoctoral research. He currently holds a research chair from l'Institut nordique du Québec to investigate the geothermal potential of northern communities and mines in addition to be the coleader of an international research group on geothermal energy supported by UNESCO. Highly involved in the scientific community, he participates to a task group of the Canadian Standard Association on geothermal heat pumps and the geothermal advisory committee of Geoscience BC. He coauthored a report from the Geological Survey of Canada on the geothermal potential of the country and was awarded the Canadian Geotechnical Society Colloquium in order to complete a Canadian lecture tour during 2016-2017.

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