Using Visual MODFLOW to Simulate Heat Transport in Groundwater

Visual MODFLOW incorporates the latest version of the USGS SEAWAT code (v.4) which incorporates temperature as a contaminant species (in MT3DMS) and a new Viscosity package, which allows you to simulate heat transport and the effects of varying fluid viscosity on the movement of groundwater. The following processes can be simulated:

  • heat conduction is the movement of heat from high temperature to low temperature; this is simulated using the appropriate molecular diffusion coefficient
  • heat exchange it the movement of heat between the groundwater phase and the soil matrix; simulated using the appropriate distribution coefficient
  • advective heat flux (convection) is the movement of heat along with the flowing groundwater; simulated using the appropriate; it is analogous to groundwater transport and uses the average linear groundwater velocity to move temperature with the flowing fluid
  • dispersion (which is the same for heat and solute transport)

Visual MODFLOW and SEAWAT v.4 can be used for a variety of applications

  • Simulating the transport of heat and salinity in coastal aquifers and thermally-driven convection in deep aquifers
  • ASR and storage of freshwater in saline aquifers: simulating buoyancy effects and the effect of groundwater temperature on fluid viscosity
  • Geothermal investigations: impact of groundwater heat pumps on groundwater temperature
  • Simulating groundwater circulation in deep mines, geological platforms, and basins
  • Fate of wastewater injected into deep wells and impact on the aquifer

Online References using Visual MODFLOW

Note: Waterloo Hydrogeologic does not imply endorsement of software from the authors of these publications/reports (or their associated organization/affiliations).

Note that some of the examples below use MODFLOW as part of the groundwater modeling component for a geothermal aquifer investigation

Examination of a geothermal system from a porous geothermal reservoir in the Pannonian Basin in Hungary
Published in: PROCEEDINGS, Fourtieth Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering
HungaryPorous geothermal reservoir
Assessment of Geothermal Water and Energy Resources of Lower Jurassic Formations in the NW Part of Polish Lowland (Szczecin Trough)
ublished in: Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2010
 Polandgeothermal energy, geothermal resources, Lower Jurassic.
Flow and heat modelling of a Hot Sedimentary Aquifer (HSA) for direct-use geothermal heat production in the Perth urban area, Western Australia (WA)
ublished in: Australian Geothermal Conference 2010 Proceedings
Australia SEAWAT
MODFLOW Application on the Numerical Simulation of Geothermal Fluid in Tianjin Binhai New Area
Published in: Geological Survey and Research
Transboundary geothermal resources of the Mura-Zala basin: a need for joint thermal aquifer management of Slovenia and HungarySlovenia
and Hungary
geothermal energy, thermal water,

transboundary aquifer, flow model, Pannonian basin

UTES (Underground Thermal Energy Storage)—Applications and Market Development in Sweden
Published in: Journal of Energy and Power Engineering
SwedenShallow geothermal, energy storage,
ground source heat pumps, underground thermal energy storage
Assessment of groundwater flow in volcanic faulted areas. A study case in Queretaro, MexicoMexicoGroundwater flow, faulted aquifers,
numerical modeling, volcanic structures, dykes, Mexico, PEST

Sample Visual MODFLOW Tutorial

Suggested Reading