Majid Mohammadian, Ph.D., P.Eng. 

Department of Civil Engineering 

Research on Renewable Energy  

My research on renewable energy focuses on exploring novel approaches using numerical and experimental methods and includes the following items:

1. Geothermal Energy

‚Äč      a. Deep Geothermal Energy Systems

      b. Shallow Geothermal Energy Systems

2. Hydrokinetic/Tidal Energy with Venturi Effect

3. Phase-Change Heat Storage for Solar-Thermal Energy Systems

Deep Geothermal energy systems

Students: Nikhil Manikonda
Supervisor: Majid Mohammadian

Geothermal power is an important source of clean and renewable energy. My research deals with the study of deep geothermal power plants for the generation of electricity. The main feature of the system is the employment of side channels to increase the amount of thermal energy extracted. A three-dimensional finite difference computer model is developed to solve the heat transport equation. The numerical model is employed to evaluate the effective system lifetime as a function of various parameters such as thermal diffusivity of the rock, depth of the main well, and number and length of side channels. The sustainable lifetime of the system for a target output power of 2 MW is calculated for deep geothermal systems, and the economic feasibility of the system for a practical range of geothermal parameters is evaluated. The results show a promising outlook for deep geothermal systems for practical applications.
Figure 1: Left: schematic showing the system model, Right: 3-D view of the main well and side channels (side and top views)
(Fig. 2) Typical simulation results where colours show the temperature field. Heat pipes are identified by the light blue colour    (Fig 3) Typical power generation following the demand curve with respect to time
(Fig. 4) System lifetime versus the depth of the main well with six side channels and total drilling depth of 10,000m   (Fig. 5) System lifetime with respect to the distance between channels for a geothermal gradient of 550C/km and a total drilling depth of 10,000m
     (Fig. 6) Optimal lifetime with respect to thermal diffusivity for a total depth of     10,000m for various geothermal gradients (shaded region shows the              economically unfeasible area)


Shallow geothermal energy systems

Student: Ali Ghoreishi (McGIll)
Supervisor: Ferri Hassani (McGIll)
Collaborators: Majid Mohammadian (uOttawa), Peter Radziszewski (Mcgill)

This project deals with the design and optimization of geothermal energy systems for mines. Relevant information can be found in the following papers:

Ghoreishi A., Hassani F., Mohammadian A., Radziszewski P., A study into extraction of geothermal energy from tailings ponds. Accepted in International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment. (Taylor & Francis) [reference]

Ghoreishi A., Hassani F., Mohammadian A., Radziszewski P., A transient natural convection heat transfer model for geothermal borehole heat exchangers, Accepted in Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. (American Institute of Physics) [reference]

 Ghoreishi A, Hassani F., Mohammadian A., Radziszewski P. (2011), ‘An assessment of thawing in frozen rocks of backfilled underground mines’, International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 48, 7, 1068–1076. (Elsevier) [reference]

(Fig. 7) Illustration of borehole heat exchanger tubes, borehole fill material, and porous ground medium
(Fig. 8) Tube cell and its surrounding control volume   (Fig. 9) Underground water velocity in the mid plane  of a multiple borehole heat exchanger after 10 years of operation

Hydrokinetic/Tidal Energy with venturi effect

Student: Derek Foran
Supervisor: Majid Mohammadian
Co-supervisor: Ioan Nistor

The objective of this project is optimize the use of the Venturi effect in order to maximize energy from water flow. The project includes both three-dimensional numerical modeling and laboratory experiments for the optimization of such a system.
(Fig. 10) Top-down view of the Tidal Acceleration Structure with generalised flow paths
(Fig. 11) Boundary conditions (Fig. 12) Water elevation surrounding the system (top-down view)

Phase-Change heat storage for Solar-Thermal energy systems

Student: Xin Liu
Supervisor: Majid Mohammadian
Co-supervisor: Julio Angel Infante Sedano

Storage of solar energy for the use at night is a challenging issue. One of the methods used in practice is to use latent heat and store energy in reservoirs of molten salt. The objective in this project is the optimal design of phase-change heat storage systems and the estimation and minimization of heat loss in such systems.
(Fig. 12) Grid used for simulation of pipes   (Fig. 13)  Temperature field
(Fig. 14) Grid used for prediction of reservoir heat loss
(Fig. 15) Velocity field around reservoir   (Fig. 16)  Temperature field around reservoir