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Majid Mohammadian, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Associate Professor

Department of Civil Engineering

University of Ottawa

161 Louis Pasteur, CBY A114 ,Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5

Tel: (613) 562-5800-ext 6492, Fax: (613) 562-5173




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

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 economic feasibility of the system for a practical range of geothermal parameters is evaluated. 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)





Figure 2: Typical simulation result where colours show the temperature field. Heat pipes are identified by the light blue colour.


Figure 3: Typical power generation following the demand curve with respect to time


Figure 4: System life time versus the depth of the main well with six side channels and total drilling depth of 10,000 m


Figure 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


Figure 6: Optimal lifetime with respect to thermal diffusivity for 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 design and optimization of geothermal energy systems for mines. Relevant information could be found in the following papers:

1.       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)

2.       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).

3.       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)



Illustration of borehole heat exchanger tubes, borehole fill material, and porous ground medium

Tube cell and its surrounding control volume



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 optimal use of venturi effect in order to maximize energy from water flow. The project includes both three-dimensional numerical modeling and laboratory experiments for optimization of such system.

Top-down view of the Tidal Acceleration Structure with generalised flow paths



Boundary conditions


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 is this project is optimal design of phase-change heat storage systems and estimation and minimization of heat loss in such systems.



Grid used for simulation of pipes


Temperature field


Grid used for Prediction of Reservoir heat loss



Velocity field around reservoir


Temperature field around reservoir