Status: Ongoing

Project lead: Sarah Newton

In the Yukon territory, there is a gap between the seasonal availability of existing hydro and solar energy in summer and the energy needs for heat in the winter. This gap is being filled through the direct use of diesel and propane for heat, and diesel and liquefied natural gas for electricity generation. Heating is the source of 18% of the Yukon territory’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Geothermal is a promising source of renewable energy that can address heating needs for Northern communities while reducing GHG emissions. Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) transport geothermal energy from the subsurface into buildings. They are more than 100% efficient at transporting heat energy using electricity, and provide a low and stable cost of energy over the long term (~25 years) while reducing emissions. The cost efficiency of GSHPs is closely related to the thermal conductivity of the geological formations of the site. The objective of this proposal is to conduct two thermal response tests (TRTs) in existing groundwater monitoring wells, one well hosted in bedrock and one hosted in unconsolidated geologic materials (e.g. sand and gravel). The information collected will be used to understand and compare the thermal properties of these two different geologies. We can then begin to assess the viability of GSHP technology for different locations in the Whitehorse area. Using existing monitoring wells will lower the costs of the tests. Preliminary results of this study will help to identify target geological formations for GSHPs and identify key areas for further investigation.

Partners and funders

YukonU Scholarly Activity