Experimental characterization and performance evaluation of geothermal grouting materials subjected to heating–cooling cycles
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AuthorIndacoechea Vega, Irune; Pascual Muñoz, Pablo; Castro Fresno, Daniel; Calzada Pérez, Miguel Ángel
In recent years, the increasing rise in environmental awareness among energy consumers has led to an increasing use of renewable energies such as the geothermal energy. An important role in the efficient exploitation of the geothermal resource is played by the grouting material placed in the borehole between the pipes and the ground. Actually, the use of proper grouts is essential to provide an effective heat transfer between the ground and the heat carrier fluid in the pipes, and also to comply with the mechanical and environmental demands. However, when it comes to the construction of the GHP installations, the grout is especially required to be easy to work with (workable) and for this reason more water than required is sometimes added. In order to assess the suitability of grouting materials with significant water/solid ratios, the thermal conductivity, mechanical strength and permeability of five different grouts and grout–pipe specimens were measured for their laboratory characterization. In addition, the grouts were subjected to heating and cooling cycles to evaluate their durability with time in terms of the potential degradation of the materials and the loss of quality of the grout–pipe interface. According to the results obtained, the grouts here tested are appropriate for most of the geothermal heat pump installations, especially for those with low to medium ground thermal properties.