Urban Underground Climate Change and the Use of Energy-geostructures

Dr Asal Bidarmaghz

Urban underground is increasingly used for various purposes such as infrastructure and living spaces due to the rapid population growth in cities and the shortage of space aboveground. Past research has demonstrated that the increased use of the urban subsurface leads to a significant temperature increase in shallow subsurface and aquifers. Such temperature anomalies can lead to urban underground climate change with substantial effects on cooling and heating requirements to maintain underground spaces at comfortable levels, groundwater quality, and the structural stability of underground spaces (particularly in expansive soils), all of which affecting the sustainability and resilience of underground utilisation in the long-term. A sustainable solution to the rapidly growing phenomenon of underground climate change is to use energy geo-structures such as energy tunnels, piles or walls to harness the excessive thermal energy stored in the shallow subsurface for heating and cooling spaces. My research is focused on discovering methods for energy extraction from the urban subsurface for heating and cooling above/underground spaces using existing geostructures and understanding the extent and minimise the impact of urban underground climate change (temperature alteration) on buried structures such as tunnels, basements, etc and the surrounding soil.

About the speaker

Dr Asal Bidarmaghz Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW

Dr Asal Bidarmaghz, is a Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW with expertise in Energy Geotechnics.  Asal received her PhD in Civil Engineering (Geothermal Technologies) from the University of Melbourne in 2015, and worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at their Department of Infrastructure Engineering from 2015-2017. Prior to joining UNSW in 2019, She was a Research Associate at the Engineering Department, The University of Cambridge (2017-2019). Asal specializes in geo-energy systems, hydro-thermo-mechanical characteristics of urban subsurface and underground structures synergistically with above/underground built environment. Her research concerns large-scale simulation of urban underground heat island and the quantification of its consequent geotechnical, environmental and hydrological impacts with specific emphasis on sustainable and resilient utilization of underground structures and geo-energy resources. Asal is the Deputy Chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) Sydney Chapter and the Task Force Leader for the underground climate change initiative at the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (TC308-ISSMGE).

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