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Alternative use of artificial quarry lakes as heat source for greenhouses

In northern Italy, most greenhouses rely on gas or oil heaters which are sometimes subject to high operating costs. Several greenhouses are nearby quarry lakes, which are the legacy of the expansion of cities in the last decades, including Turin (NW Italy). About 20 quarry lakes were excavated close to the Po riverbed in the southern part of this urban area, along a belt of more than 30 km in length, with an overall volume exceeding 10 million m3 water.

The study addresses these artificial lakes as a low enthalpy thermal energy source, potentially providing heat to surrounding agri-business buildings. Detailed temperature monitoring of a large lake quarry was conducted over two years at different depths, measuring the surrounding groundwater level as well. Two different behaviors of the lake during the winter and summer seasons enabled the definition of a quite low water mixing process between the surrounding aquifers and the lake (in the range of 2–4 °C).

An evaluation of the heat extraction potential using the lake as a heat source, depending on water temperature and its volume, and a qualitative comparison with groundwater systems are proposed. This study contributes to increasing knowledge on an overlooked resource for sustainable heating.

Read the complete research at

Chicco, Jessica & Comeau, Felix-Antoine & Casasso, Alessandro & Comina, Cesare & Giordano, Nicolò & Mandrone, Giuseppe & Raymond, Jasmin. (2021). Alternative Use of Artificial Quarry Lakes as a Source of Thermal Energy for Greenhouses. Water. 13. 3560. 10.3390/w13243560. 

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