Cheap and efficient application of reliable ground source heat exchangers and pumps (Cheap-GSHPs project)

In order to achieve the objectives of Cheap-GSHPs, a multidisciplinary and complementary consortium has been built, composed by specialists in different disciplines involved (physics, climatology, chemistry, mechanics, engineering, architecture, drilling and GSHE technology). The majority of them have a large and comprehensive experience in the framework of the European Commission (EU) Research Programs and particularly in shallow geothermal systems.

The proposal will focus on one hand on the development of more efficient and safe shallow geothermal systems and the reduction of the installation costs. This will be realized first by improving drastically an existing, innovative vertical borehole installation technology and the design of coaxial steel GSHE and second, newly designed basket type GSHE’s with novel installation methodologies will be developed. With a view to improve safety and reduce permitting requirements the improved coaxial GSHE’s will be installed respectively to depths of 40 – 50 meters and the basket type GSHE’s to 15 – 20 meters. This doesn’t prevent however the coaxial GSHE’s to be installed up to depths of 100 – 120 meters.

On the other hand, the proposal will develop a decision support system (DSS) and other design tools covering the geological aspects, feasibility and economic evaluations based on different plant set-up options, selection, design, installation, commissioning and operation of low enthalpy geothermal systems. These tools will be made publicly available on the web to users, including comprehensive training to lower the market entry threshold.

Given that drilling and GSHE technologies are mature but costly, this holistic approach is included in the proposal to bring the overall cost of the total project down, i.e. not just the cost of the GSHE itself but the avoidance of ground response tests, the engineering costs for the design of the GSHE
and the integration of heat pumps with building heating and cooling systems. Also the use of the novel heat pumps for higher temperatures developed within the project will reduce the costs in the market for retrofitting buildings, in particular for historical ones, where high temperature terminals are present. The developments will be demonstrated in six sites with different undergrounds and climate conditions, whilst the tools will be applied to several virtual demo cases.

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