Potential of low-enthalpy geothermal energy to degrade organic contaminants of emerging concern in urban groundwater

Sci Rep. 2023 Feb 14;13(1):2642. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-29701-x.


Low-enthalpy geothermal energy (LEGE) is a carbon-free and renewable source to provide cooling and heating to infrastructures (e.g. buildings) by exchanging their temperature with that of the ground. The exchange of temperature modifies the groundwater temperature around LEGE installations, which may contribute to enhancing the capacity of aquifers to degrade organic contaminants of emerging concern (OCECs), whose presence is significantly increasing in urban aquifers. Here, we investigate the impact of LEGE on OCECs and their bioremediation potential through numerical modelling of synthetic and real-based cases. Simulation results demonstrate that: (i) LEGE facilities have the potential to noticeably modify the concentrations of OCECs; and (ii) the final impact depends on the design of the facility. This study suggests that optimized LEGE facility designs could contribute to the degradation of OCECs present in urban aquifers, thus improving groundwater quality and increasing its availability in urban areas.

PMID:36788298 | PMC:PMC9929318 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-023-29701-x


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