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Numerical modeling as a tool for evaluating the renewability of geothermal resources: the case study of the Euganean Geothermal System (NE Italy)


Torresan,  Filippo
External Organizations;

Piccinini,  Leonardo
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Cacace,  Mauro
4.5 Basin Modelling, 4.0 Geosystems, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Pola,  Marco
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Zampieri,  Dario
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Fabbri,  Paolo
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Torresan, F., Piccinini, L., Cacace, M., Pola, M., Zampieri, D., Fabbri, P. (2021 online): Numerical modeling as a tool for evaluating the renewability of geothermal resources: the case study of the Euganean Geothermal System (NE Italy). - Environmental Geochemistry and Health.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5007312
Renewable natural resources are strategic for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the human footprint. The renewability of these resources is a crucial aspect that should be evaluated in utilization of scenario planning. The renewability of geothermal resources is strictly related to the physical and geological processes that favor water circulation and heating. In the Veneto region (NE Italy), thermal waters of the Euganean Geothermal System are the most profitable regional geothermal resource, and its renewability assessment entails the evaluation of fluid and heat recharge, regional and local geological settings, and physical processes controlling system development. This renewability assessment is aimed at defining both the importance of such components and the resource amount that can be exploited without compromising its future preservation. In the second part of the twentieth century, the Euganean thermal resource was threatened by severe overexploitation that caused a sharp decrease in the potentiometric level of the thermal aquifers. Consequently, regulation for their exploitation is required. In this work, the renewability of the Euganean Geothermal System was assessed using the results from numerical simulations of fluid flow and heat transport. The simulations were based on a detailed hydrogeological reconstruction that reproduced major regional geological heterogeneities through a 3D unstructured mesh, while a heterogeneous permeability field was used to reproduce the local fracturing of the thermal aquifers. The model results highlight the role played by the resolved structural elements, in particular the subsurface high-angle faults of the exploitation field, and by the anomalous regional crustal heat flow affecting the central Veneto region.