Maria Letizia Fasci
Aiming since I was a teenager at making the world a better place, I decided I wanted to contribute to solve problems related to energy access, production and consumption.
The problem I am currently trying to solve is related to the use of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) for domestic heating in densely populated areas. GSHPs provide domestic heating by extracting heat from the underground. When few GSHP systems operate in the same area, the heat extracted by these systems is regenerated naturally, and the systems can operate for indefinite time running on this renewable source of energy. However, when several installations are close to each other (like in dense neighbourhoods), there is the risk that so much heat is extracted from the ground that it does not regenerate completely. If this happens, after some years, the systems will not be able to deliver all the heat necessary for the houses, leading to the use of auxiliary systems, that have a higher environmental impact.
Therefore, it is important to be able to predict, for each neighbourhood, if the GSHPs operating in the neighbourhood are extracting too much heat, leading to the aforementioned problem. It is also important to be able to propose solutions to avoid the problem at all. My research consists in creating the proper tools (a software) for this scope. I am implementing mathematical models to create a software able to predict the changes occurring in the ground due to the operation of GSHPs in dense neighbourhoods, and able to estimate how these changes affect the systems themselves. Finally, for each neighbourhood, the software will also be able to propose measures that can be taken to mitigate or avoid the problem.
This will allow the extensive use of GSHPs in densely populated areas without considerable use of auxiliary systems, and therefore with a low environmental impact.