Research article
18 August 2016

Repurposing of disused shale gas wells for subsurface heat storage: preliminary analysis concerning UK issues

Publication: Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Volume 49
Pages 213 - 227


Development of many wells is envisaged in the UK in coming decades to exploit the abundant shale gas resource as fuel and petrochemical feedstock. Forward planning is therefore warranted regarding reuse of the resulting subsurface infrastructure after gas production has ceased. It is shown that this infrastructure might be repurposed for borehole thermal energy storage (BTES). Preliminary calculations, assuming an idealized cycle of summer heat storage and winter heat extraction, indeed demonstrate annual storage of c. 6 TJ or c. 2 GWh of energy per BTES well. Summed over the anticipated well inventory, a significant proportion of the UK's future heat demand might thus be supplied. This form of BTES technology has particular relevance to the UK, where the shale resource is located in relatively densely populated areas; it is especially significant for Scotland, where the resource coincides with a particularly high proportion of the population and heat demand.

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cover image Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Volume 49Number 3August 2016
Pages: 213 - 227


Received: 4 March 2016
Revision received: 28 June 2016
Accepted: 5 July 2016
Published: August 2016
Published online: 18 August 2016


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School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, James Watt (South) Building, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK


Scientific edited by Sarah Beeson; Stephen Buss

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Citing Literature

  • Repurposing a Geothermal Exploration Well as a Deep Borehole Heat Exchanger: Understanding Long-Term Effects of Lithological Layering, Flow Direction, and Circulation Flow Rate, Sustainability, 10.3390/su15054140, 15, 5, (4140), (2023).
  • Repurposing Hydrocarbon Wells for Geothermal Use in the UK: The Onshore Fields with the Greatest Potential, Energies, 10.3390/en13143541, 13, 14, (3541), (2020).
  • Low-carbon GeoEnergy resource options in the Midland Valley of Scotland, UK, Scottish Journal of Geology, 10.1144/sjg2019-007, 55, 2, (93-106), (2019).
  • An Investigation of the Underlying Evolution of Shale Gas Research’s Domain Based on the Co-Word Network, Sustainability, 10.3390/su10010164, 10, 1, (164), (2018).
  • Deep Geothermal Single Well heat production: critical appraisal under UK conditions, Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 10.1144/qjegh2017-029, 51, 4, (424-449), (2018).

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