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Geothermal Heat Energy Extraction from Boreholes

Shallow geothermal energy – high efficient heating and cooling of hotel complexes and commercial buildings with borehole heat exchanger systems as seasonal storage for heat and cold




The utilization of shallow geothermal energy with borehole heat exchangers and heat pumps for heating and cooling of buildings is very popular in Europe due to low costs of operation and high operating reliability. These systems have the highest rates of growth of all energy supply systems in Europe.

In order to provide a productive and comfortable climate for a living and working environment, buildings have an anti-cyclical demand of heat and cold. During the summer, when abundant heat is available, they have to be air-conditioned, while in wintertime, when cold is at disposal, the buildings have to be heated. Especially the heat and cold supply for hotels and commercial buildings is a challenge, as their huge energy demand needs to be satisfied with a reliable and cost-effective solution. This solution are borehole heat exchangers, which use the huge energy storage potential of the underground with up to 400 m deep boreholes and turn it into an anti-cyclic heat reservoir.



Excessive space heat from air-conditioning in summer will not simply be blown into the atmosphere. The heat is transferred into the underground via the borehole heat exchangers and will increase the existing heat potential of the earth. The same system is used to extract the heat in winter from the underground and make it available for the heating of the building with a heat pump.


Compared to conventional systems, the cost of operation of ground-coupled heat pumps is very low. A minimum of 75% of the heat will be provided by the underground. Depending on the design, the cooling mode requires only electricity for a circulation pump. A borehole heat exchanger system can be operated 50% cheaper than a conventional heating and cooling system, where the heating and the air-conditioning unit work independent from each other.



With professional and optimized planning the utilization of shallow geothermal energy is the most economical system for the combination of heating and air-conditioning, especially for larger buildings. The investigation and evaluation of a shallow geothermal energy supply with regards to the requirements of the building services and the local site conditions has to be conducted by a professional consultant. The technical knowledge of an expert is needed from the first planning phase to the completion for a successful implementation of an optimized system.


By human terms, nearly inexhaustible shallow geothermal potential as a renewable energy. They can be ideally combined with other systems, like CHP, solar collectors, and photo-voltaic systems. Borehole heat exchanger systems can provide the base load day and night, as they are independent of sun or wind and they are an ideal solution for buildings with a high energy demand, like hotels and commercial buildings. South Africa is a perfect location for this technology – commercial buildings, like shopping centers and office buildings can be supplied with a perfect heating and cooling system with essential savings for operation costs. Drilling equipment is available for a reasonable price and the underground conditions are perfect in many parts of the country.

Dr. Frank Frauenstein - Email Me                        

 




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