The Challenge: increasing deployment of shallow geothermal technology

The need for rapid growth of the application of geothermal heating and cooling technology in most Member States will be a challenge in terms of market development, increasing consumer/developer appeal and encouraging new participants to join the GSHP installation industry (mostly SMEs) as well as meeting cost and quality expectations. These factors include:

  • Capital costs: Innovative hybrid configurations and making use of alternative foundation heat exchange technology are further approaches to addressing capital costs and providing further opportunities for exploitation of geothermal heating and cooling.
  • Design complexity: Inovation to the design process and better management of design risks is required.
  • Construction management complexity: Vertical borehole heat exchangers are the most appropriate form of ground heat exchanger in approximately 80% of applications. Drilling technology, installation capacity and expertise has been transferred from other industries as the geothermal heating and cooling market has grown since the 1990s. Geothermal drilling is correspondingly seen as a specialist contracting activity.
  • Site working conditions: The disruptive nature of drilling operations introduces challenges to construction management and environmental risks. In shallow geothermal applications rotary straight flush drilling circulating water or mud is used most commonly in softer formations and rotary straight flush using compressed air for hammering used for harder formations.
  • Operational complexity: Operating geothermal heating and cooling systems to achieve peak energy efficiency requires successful control system integration.

Project objectives

GEOTeCH project aims to stimulate and promote greater utilization of renewable heating and cooling using shallow geothermal GSHP systems through advancement of innovative drilling and ground heat exchanger technologies that are significantly more cost-effective, affordable and efficient than current technology.The proposed GEOTeCH project intends not only to develop and innovate drilling and ground heat exchanger technologies but also develop system solutions that make the best use of hybrid heat pump and control technologies so that efficient replicable “plug and play” whole systems can be offered to the housing and small building market sectors. A slightly different approach is to be taken regarding the large tertiary building sector. In this market a key means to innovation and widening application of GSHPs is by improving the uptake of foundation heat exchanger technology through better design, robust control systems, optimal hybridization and integration as well as improved life-cycle cost effectiveness.

Socio-economic impact

The Energy Efficiency Directive sets out measures to achieve further savings in energy supply and use. Indeed buildings represent one of the biggest potential of unused energy savings. They are responsible for about 40% energy use and 80% of CO2 emissions.Aiming at the demonstration of innovative concepts for geothermal energy, GEOTeCH fully supports these measures through the deployment of industry-led demonstrators at high TRL, in a process that will serve as replication model for other deployment cases of the demonstrated solutions. The main outputs expected of the project can be grouped along two main lines according to market sector, as described in the table below:
Main Project Outcome
Buying drivers/main innovations
Small Systems (up to 50 kW), suitable for singlefamily houses and small tertiary (schools, museums, small offices…)
  • Innovative dry drilling technology that is effective, economic, easy to implement and with reduced environmental impact and resulting in better construction site operating conditions and lower safety risks.
  • High efficiency spiral co-axial borehole heat exchanger products.
  • Well integrated and optimized system solutions incorporating state-of-the-art hybrid heat pumps and robust control systems designed for small building applications.
  • System solutions based on ‘Plug-and-play’ concepts derived for applications in the small building sector that are easier to implement by SME installers.
Large Systems (over 100kW), suitable for large tertiary, singular buildings, and multi-family dwellings
  • Foundation heat exchange systems that are more effective, thermally efficient, economic and less complex to fabricate and install
  • Well integrated foundation heat exchanger systems that are integrated with innovative robust control and energy management systems
  • System solutions that are optimized for effective hybrid operation with other renewable and low carbon heating and cooling technologies

Project tasks

Overall Project Management and Coordination
Lead by: Solintel
Objectives:

  • Coordinating the technological and scientific orientation of the project
  • Appropriate resource management
  • Monitoring the overall project performance
  • Managing risks and contingencies

Improved drilling technologies for borehole implementation
Lead by: Groenholland

Objectives:

  • Fully automated “dry drilling” drillrig
  • Development of auger drilling
  • Quick mobilisation, increased production
  • No water/mud, improved working conditions
  • Operator friendly, Health & Safety improvements
  • Apply Geotec HX, developed in Geotech program
  • Potential for integration with foundation works

Tasks list:

  • Evaluation of previous results and integration with HX
  • Integration of borehole HX development and drilling design
  • Auger design, prototyping, production
  • Field trials of augers
  • Production of prototype series of augers
  • Drill rig design and prototyping
  • Field trials drilling rig
  • Advanced drill rig controls

Deliverables list:

  • Report on the evaluation of available information
  • Fully designed & tested drilling tools, production series available
  • Drill rig and tooling (completely) operational and tested
  • Report on the field trials of the augers and rill rig
  • Manufacturing specifications

Cost-effective ground heat exchangers improvement
Lead by: De Montfort University

Objectives:

  • Identify and quantify performance parameters for all target applications
  • Optimize the vertical borehole heat exchanger component design
  • Validate the performance of the vertical borehole heat exchanger
  • Develop validated vertical ground heat exchanger design and simulation models
  • Develop advanced design tools for foundation heat exchangers
  • Develop innovated and optimal foundation heat exchanger prototype designs
  • Validate the capabilities of the FHX design tools
  • Develop plans for increased heat exchanger manufacturing levels and scale-up of fabrication

Tasks list:

  • Design Analysis and Development Planning
  • Vertical borehole heat exchanger component modelling and design optimization
  • Vertical borehole heat exchanger component performance validation
  • Vertical borehole heat exchanger modelling
  • Foundation heat exchanger modelling and design optimization
  • Analysis of durability and stability of foundation structural elements with embedded geothermal heat exchangers
  • Foundation heat exchanger performance validation
  • Manufacturing development

Deliverables list:

  • Heat exchanger design review, performance specification and manufacturing development plans
  • Documented numerical analysis of optimal heat exchanger performance
  • Documented validation test results and heat exchanger performance data
  • Ground heat exchanger simulation tool technical and user documentation
  • Analysis of durability and stability of foundation structural elements with embedded geothermal heat exchangers

Plug & Play Geothermal System
Lead by: Hiref

Objectives:

  • Development, construction and testing of the dual source heat pump prototypes
  • Development of a model for the heating/cooling system based on WP2 and WP3 models
  • Development of an effective control strategy for optimal operation
  • Assessment with the model of the expected seasonal performance
  • Development of a system control for the plug-and-play systems

Tasks list:

  • Dual Source Heat Pump development and construction of prototypes
  • Modelling the heating and cooling system for plug & play installations, and development of an effective control strategy for their optimal operation
  • Development of the central system controller
  • Plug-and-play package design, selection and specification development

Deliverables list:

  • Dual Source heat pump design
  • Heat pump prototype 1
  • Final design of the refrigerant circuit and strategy of operation between the two different heat sources
  • Heat pump prototypes 2 and 3
  • Experimental results of prototype 1 and 3
  • Global system model of plug & play installations
  • Optimal operation of the systems
  • Central system controller
  • Plug & play installation guide

Building Integration and Efficient Management of Geothermal based hybrid systems
Lead by: Tecnalia

Objectives:

  • Development of a Management System to optimize the operation of hybrid systems based in Shallow Geothermal Systems which incorporate the developments of GEOTeCH project for Large Tertiary Buildings
  • Development of Design Guide to incorporate GEOTeCH developments in the portfolio of available solutions in an easy way
  • Development of a Technical Procedure with specifications to help Systems Engineers to implement properly geoexchange in foundation (pilot, pile, slab)
  • Development of a “Implementation & Quality Control” Procedure, to ensure the performance, reliability and safety issues

Tasks list:

  • Development of an Energy Management System for optimizing the shallow geothermal systems operation
  • Development of Design Guides for GEOTeCH based solutions
  • Development of Implementation & Quality Control Procedures

Deliverables list:

  • Management System for Large GEOTeCH Hybrid Systems
  • Design Guides for GEOTeCH solutions
  • Documented foundation heat exchanger fabrication procedures and technical specifications
  • Implementation & Quality ControlProcedures

Demonstration, validation and LCA
Lead by: COMSA INDUSTRIAL

Objectives:

  • Implementation of the innovative and integrated geothermal system solutions
  • Demonstration and validation of the building energy management system (BEMS)
  • Demonstration of the reduction of the installation, operation and maintenance costs
  • Demonstration through Life Cycle Assessment approach and methodology the overall sustainability of:
    • Shallow geothermal systems for renewable heating and cooling applications
    • Economic and social benefits

Tasks list:

  • Design of demo-site
  • Amsterdam small-scale office building borehole demo
  • Leicester small-scale house hold borehole demo
  • Padova small-scale office building borehole demo
  • Barcelona large-scale tertiary building screen wall demo
  • Commissioning of the demo sites
  • Comparison of technologies and LCA

Deliverables list:

  • Implementation procedure and standardised monitoring plan
  • Evaluation and validation report of Amsterdam small-scale office building demo
  • Evaluation and validation report of Leicester small-scale house hold demo
  • Evaluation and validation report of Padova small-scale office building demo
  • Evaluation and validation report of Barcelona large-scale tertiary building screen wall demo
  • Life Cycle Assessment Public report
  • Life Cycle Assessment Private report

Market analysis, Business modelling e Business planning
Lead by: D’Appolonia

Objectives:

  • Map benefits for the newer technologies, and assess the risks correlated to their implementation
  • Analyse the Market and to gain insight into the potential for multiplication of the innovative and integrated geothermal solutions
  • Develop innovative business models that can be implemented to favour the exploitation of the relevant innovations developed within the GEOTeCH project
  • Support the management of the IPR generated within the project

Tasks list:

  • Mapping and Risk Assessment
  • Market Assessment
  • Business Models and Business Plans
  • IPR Management of the Knowledge delivered by the project
  • Exploitation workshops and action plans

Deliverables list:

  • Market assessment
  • Mapping and Risk assessment
  • Business Models
  • Business Plans
  • Intermediate Plan for Use and Exploitation of Results
  • Final Plan for Use and Exploitation of Results

Dissemination and Communication
Lead by: D’Appolonia

Objectives:

  • Monitoring the potential opportunities for public presentation of the project results
  • Delivering and updates the relevant materials (leaflets, brochures, flyers, posters, but also videos and rendering)

Tasks list:

  • Communication and Dissemination Plan
  • Communication Material and Promotion
  • Web-GIS Interface

Deliverables list:

  • Project website
  • Communication and Dissemination plan
  • Web-gis interface
  • Intermediate Plan for the Dissemination of the Results
  • Final Plan for the Dissemination of the Results