Modelling of Groundwater Flow and Heat Transport

We have the most extensive experience in the development of groundwater models of open loop ground source heat pumps in the UK, with a particularly strong track record in achieving regulatory approval for major open loop systems in the Chalk aquifer in London.


An open loop ground source heat pump system uses an abstraction borehole to supply groundwater as the fluid for the heat pump, then re-injecting the water. The system can impact on the groundwater resource, temperature and potentially impact surface water where there is a connection.


Open loop schemes are regulated by the Environment Agency, as direct abstraction of groundwater and discharge of wastewater are governed by environmental legislation.


Groundwater Models

The design and implementation of sustainable open loop ground source systems demands a high level of hydrogeological experience, as it involves:

  • assessment of available groundwater resources;
  • assessment of available borehole yield (abstraction and injection);
  • assessment of potential impact on other water abstractions;
  • assessment of potential impact on the environment; and
  • experience in the regulatory aspects of water abstraction.


We have a great depth of experience in the development of groundwater models of open loop ground source heat pumps. The models simulate the effect schemes may have on groundwater temperatures and identify potential interferences between neighbouring schemes.


Using our extensive hydrogeological expertise, we are able to assess the risks at the design stage. Our numerical groundwater modelling skills allow us to examine the aquifer’s thermal properties and the transportation of thermal energy by water flow and heat conduction through rocks.


Using FEFLOW we are able to model the transport of heat within the aquifer as this accounts for potential temperature effects on groundwater flow and the influence of the unsaturated zone on heat conduction.


Key foundation to good design

A hydrogeological conceptual model is a key foundation to good design. From our experience working in all UK aquifer settings we are ideally placed to develop detailed site models. These inform design and ensure objectives are met through the appropriate location and specification of boreholes and their flow rates.