The GeoFit Bordeaux demo is a retrofit geothermal installation realized in the scope of the GeoFit UE project. It deals with the installation of a geothermal system on a Bordeaux University building to reduce a part of the building gas consumption during the heating season and improve the cooling efficiency during summer.
Considering the energy needs of the building and the available space outside, two types of ground source heat exchangers have been installed:
2 earth baskets, for model validation
1 vertical bore hole with 2 probes to complete the source
The heat pump is made of 2 units as follows:
The heating unit, which is based on adsorption technology, gets back energy from the soil with a gas remainder to reach the high level of temperature needed by the technology
The cooling unit, based on compression technology and working with propane.
The installation of the heat pump required some significant changes on the existing distribution energy system (cooling and heating network)
Currently, the installation is working. It allowed to cool a part of the building during the summer 2022 and will heat the same part of the building during the upcoming winter. The rooms concerned are offices of university staff and a conference room. The system must prove it maintains at least the comfort inside the rooms and decreases the primary energy consumption.
The installation operation and performances are followed in real time thanks to a dedicated monitoring system which sends the data on an external server.
Last 17th to 21st October 2022, GEOFIT partners presented several conference papers during the European Geothermal Congress held in Berlin, Germany. This event, the largest geothermal congress in Europe, brought together the entire European geothermal sector and attracted many from outside the continent providing a varied public with a range of different events. This congress was the perfect scenario to show main GEOFIT project results after the four and a half years developing cost-effective enhanced geothermal systems for energy efficient building retrofitting.
Six conference papers were presented focusing on the milestones and outcomes of the project related with different topics: three of them focused on shallow geothermal, two of them on case studies including life cycle assessment and one of them on drilling.
Giuseppe Edoardo Dino, from CNR, presented Techno-Economic Analysis of a Swimming Pool Heating System Retrofitting Through a Dual Source Heat Pump.
Abstract:The European energy policies are aiming to the electrification of the heating sector as it is considered one of the solutions indicated for the decarbonization of the energy system. Heat pumps represent the most promising and widely adopted solution. However, there are some inherent technological problems to heat pumps, such as evaporator frosting for air-source heat pumps and ground thermal drift for ground source heat pumps. From this perspective a dual-source (air-geothermal) heat pumps represents a promising solution to overcome those challenges. GEOFIT H2020 project aims at developing a wide range of smart solutions for the retrofitting of thermal systems based on shallow and deep geothermal source. In this paper, the retrofitting of a gas boiler based system for the heating of a swimming pool in Galway (Ireland) with a dual-source heat pump with active regeneration of the soil is presented. Firstly, a swimming pool model developed in TRNSYS environment was validated through experimental campaign data retrieved by the Galway demo site. The baseline system composed by a gas boiler was simulated, then a reference retrofit solution composed by a dual source heat pump and an analogous system with a reduced design size were proposed and simulated for a long-term period (20 years). The analysis showed that a relevant primary energy saving is achievable and that the ground thermal drift is mitigated through the active ground heat regeneration. The techno-economic analysis revealed that the proposed system could have a replicability in retrofit solutions, especially in those with a seasonal inbalance where only heating loads are required during the whole year. Considering the current and foreseen increase of the fossil fuel costs, the economic competitiveness will be more favourable.
Stephan Kling, from AIT, presented GeoFit: Experimental investigations and numerical validation of shallow spiral collectors as a basis for development of a design tool for geothermal retrofitting of existing buildings.
Abstract: The H2020 GEOFIT (grant no. 792210) project will implement and demonstrate easy-to-install and economical geothermal systems in combination with heat pumps for energy-efficient building retrofits at five pilot sites across Europe – a historic building (ITA), a school (ESP), an indoor swimming pool (IRL), an office building (FRA) and a single-family house (IRL) (GEOFIT,2018). Heat pump tests and experimental laboratory tests with shallow geothermal heat collector types are carried out in climate chambers at the AIT. Material data of different soil types are determined in the thermophysics laboratory. Furthermore, CFD simulations of the conducted experiments are calculated with ANSYS Fluent. All this provides data and know-how for the development of a design tool for ground collector configurations such as helices and slinky loops, which are particularly relevant for building retrofits in GEOFIT. Experimental work focused on near-surface spiral geothermal heat exchanger configurations that can be installed at a maximum depth of five metres. Real-scale experiments were carried out for vertically oriented spiral collectors (helix) in real soil. One objective was to develop a measurement concept in the laboratory environment to create the framework for a reliable database. This database is used as a basis for the further development or new development of engineering design tools. Distributed resistance temperature sensors and a fibre-optic temperature measurement system (DTS) were used. The moisture content of the soil was recorded using soil moisture sensors. A heat flow was conditioned by means of a helix shaped electric heating cable in a 1m³ cuboid soil container. The measurements were carried out in a climate chamber at a defined constant temperature of 10 °C. The evaluation of the transient response behaviour is spatially resolved. This results in coordinate-related temperature points, which describe temperature gradients in all axes of the container over time. Three different types of soil were investigated. The temperature behaviour of humus soil, sand and a mixture of these was investigated experimentally in smaller experiments and the material data such as heat capacity, thermal conductivity and density were determined thermophysically in the laboratory. Based on this data, a CFD model was developed which can be used to modify the geometry parameters of the helix.
Ewa Alicja Zukowska, from EURECAT, presented Environmental approach of an enhanced geothermal system for energy efficient building retrofitting in a decentralized context.
Abstract: The life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with the stages of the life cycle (LC) of a product, process, or service. This paper compares the results of the entire LCA (cradle-to-grave analysis) of a hybrid heating geothermal system that includes a novel hybrid heat pump 8kW and set of heating components integrated with the novel ground source heat pump (GSHP) concept which was installed in a building located in the Aran Islands (Ireland) within the framework of the H2020 GEOFIT project against the heating system, that existed before the retrofitting. The building selected for the demonstration had in its original version a 21kW diesel boiler (Firebird model S/90) used for heating and an emission system based on 9 radiators with individual on / off control located in different rooms, as well as a coal stove in the living room. To determine the heat energy of the building before and after the retrofitting, simulations of the heat energy were carried out with the IDA Indoor Climate and Energy 4.8 simulation software, and the SimaPro v.9.1 program was used to calculate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The results show that a new heating system (after GEOFIT) is better alternative than conventional one (before GEOFIT), mainly in terms of generating more heat with less heating energy consumption during the operation stage. The new system can reduce annual operational emissions by more than 53% in comparison to the reference one.
Juan Ramon, from IDP, presented GeoFit project creating the opportunity of Geographical – BIM (GEOBIM) platform to manage geothermal systems.
Abstract: Within the GEOFIT project (Smart Geothermal Systems1), BIM environment has been defined as GeoBIM platform. This term refers to those specific geothermal applications which are included in a tailormade BIM platform to manage the geothermal systems, building, site and assets information from models, sensors installed and simulations. In GEOFIT project, the demo-sites location is enriched up to the holistic view of the retrofitted buildings with all the geothermal facilities designed, simulated, installed, commissioned, and monitored, from inception onward, during the lifecycle of a facility and includes all stakeholders who need facility information – from the designers to the occupants with the building in operation. This holistic view includes the execution control and the permanent geographical reference because the simulation, monitoring and design processes happen in a specific geographical context. The definition and implementation of a GEOBIM platform is paramount for the project and it is one of the main outcomes of GEOFIT project. While BIM implementation is ubiquitous in the architectural issues of the project, relying mostly on CAD designs, geographical information has a limited role particularly in construction projects, it is often restricted to some specific tasks or seen as a potential redundancy to BIM. Considering the geographical dependent tasks in GEOFIT, GIS can bring a valuable complementary contribution to the BIM process by providing spatial input and geospatial visualization, adding information on the retrofitting demo-site’s surrounding environment and underground thermal information that is essential for design decisions and the approval processes regarding building integrity and geothermal energy availability. In this paper, an interdisciplinary cooperation, data exchange, and data transfer occurs among the different professionals and disciplines involved for the successful retrofitting project planning and energy efficiency demonstration throughout the GEOBIM platform. This is implemented to assemble this set of powerful assessment, inspection and ground research, testing, and real time monitoring tools.
Abstract: Percussive rotary drilling is recognized as the most efficient method for hard rock drilling. Despite clear advantages over conventional rotary methods, there are still some uncertainties associated with percussive drilling. For geothermal applications, drilling accounts for a large portion of the total cost. Specifically, the wear of drill bits when drilling in hard rock is a predominant cost factor and drilling parameters are often based on the experience of the field operator. Within the framework of the H2020 project GEOFIT, numerical simulations of percussive drilling are performed in order to evaluate the rock drilling process and gain insight about the trade-off between wear and Rate of Penetration (ROP). In the simulations, the rock material was represented by the Bonded Discrete Element Method (BDEM), the drill bit by the Finite Element Method (FEM), the drilling fluid by the Particle Finite Element Method (PFEM) and the abrasive wear on the surface of the drill bit was represented by Archard’s wear law. The drilling simulations were conducted for two rock materials; a sedimentary rock material corresponding to what was found when drilling at the GEOFIT pilot site in Aran Islands, Ireland, and a harder reference rock similar to granite. The results show that, at a drill bit impact force of 10 kN, the ROP in the sedimentary rock was 6.3 times faster than for granite. When increasing the impact force to 40 and 50 kN, however, the ROP for the sedimentary rock is only 1.9 and 1.6 times faster, respectively. Furthermore, the wear rate decreased with increased impact force when drilling in the granite rock. For the sedimentary rock, however, the loading resulting in the best trade-off between abrasive wear and ROP was the second highest loading of 40 kN, which suggests that an increase in impact energy may increase the rate of penetration but may not be economically motivated.
Henk Witte, from Groenholland Geo-energysystems, presented Development and validation of analytical solutions for earth basked (spiral) heat exchangers.
Abstract: In this paper we present an analytical solution and its validation for earth basket (vertical spiral) ground heat exchangers. The model, based on the well known Finite Line Source Equation, accounts for the heat exchanger pipe diameter and seasonally varying near surface temperature. For computational efficiency the standard approach of using G-functions has been implemented as well. The analytical model is validated based on laboratory experiments and extensive CFD analysis.
The GEOFIT Consortium celebrated its 9th General Assembly in Sant Cugat for three days attending the European Shallow Geothermal Days, on the 14th of June as part of the external communication activities of the project and the other two days for the presentation and summary of the project since the last General Assembly. The Municipality (Ajuntament) of Sant Cugat, organized the General Assembly to show another milestone within the project, this time in the demo site of the Pins del Vallés School, which is now commissioned and operating. We had the chance to visit the demo site premises and see the field where the boreholes and ground source heat exchangers have been performed and the technical room where the different equipment and systems are installed.
The partners presented their progress regarding the different work packages and explained the work done during the last months after the 8th General Assembly held in Perugia in December 2021.
Now the different Work Packages and deliverables are in a final stage according to the work plan and they will be finished during the next 6 months before the end of the project in October 2022. The meeting was focused on the demo sites progress and it was shown the status of Perugia, Sant Cugat, and Aran as they are now being monitored to provide data about the performance of GEOFIT systems, and the Galway demo site status was also explained by the University of Galway in terms of the coming work to make the drillings and install the proper heating systems for the pool energy demand. Regarding the Sant Cugat demo site, the passive cooling system will be finally installed in July 2022.
The parallel events planned to disseminate the project have been initiated in 2022, the attendance to the GeoTHERM Expo & Congress by GROENHOLLAND, AIT, and UPONOR has been the first milestone in the series of events to attend, followed by the European Shallow Geothermal Days and will be closed with the participation in the Conference on Modern Materials and Technologies (Perugia, June’22), the European Conference on Structural Control (Warsaw, July’22) and the European Geothermal Congress (Berlin, October’22).
The GEOFIT webinars for external public are also in the coming agenda with the support of the project partners and the pilot owners. For more information about the different events attendance, results and webinars, please access the project website periodically.
During the rest of the project until October 2022, the pending tasks regarding monitoring, implementation of GEOBIM platform for some of the pilots, the life cycle cost, and social impact analysis will be completed.
Thanks for this fruitful meeting and let’s go for the final straight!
The European Shallow Geothermal Days took place on 14 to 15 June 2022 at the Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya (ICGC) in Catalonia, Spain. Taking the opportunity to celebrate the ninth general assembly of the GEOFIT project in Sant Cugat (Barcelona), the GEOFIT Consortium attended the event during the 14th of June sessions.
GEOFIT is now in the last stages of commissioning in the demo sites and the event has represented an opportunity to demonstrate the progress in geothermal systems for cooling and heating in retrofitted buildings. It was possible to show the different aspects covered by the project like, improved drilling technologies, the different geothermal energy extraction and ground source heat pumps, thermal analysis, data gathering, radar monitoring of buildings, digital management, and efficiency of the systems.
Shallow geothermal energy represents a well-developed, non-volatile and clean technology for providing efficient heating and cooling across Europe. It is often associated with the use of ground source heat pumps but offers a wide range of applications such as geo-cooling or seasonal heat storage. Still, it is widely considered as a niche technology, however it has the potential to become a powerful game changer towards a decarbonized heating and cooling technology. The next decade from 2021 until 2030 is crucial to fulfil the SDGs defined in the “Clean Energy for all Europeans” initiative of the European Commission. All these aspects are covered by GEOFIT project, and it was possible to show these advances to the geothermal community.
On behalf of the European Commission, the event connected remotely with the DG Energy Representatives, Eva Hoos and Eric Lecomte, who explained the REPowerEU (EU Revolution on Energy Plan) to develop geothermal heating and cooling, and the updated regulatory framework: Renewable Energy RES Directive.
On behalf of the GEOFIT Consortium, Henk Witte, from Groenholland, presented the main project’s results in the afternoon session and it was possible to exchange this experience together with other related European projects and initiatives like GEO4CIVHIC, and leading entities and organizations in the geothermal technologies like GPC IP GEOFLUID, Geological Survey of Austria, DCL GEOENERGY – ITECON, among others.
COMET Global Innovation as leader of the communication activities of the project, brought different communication materials to participate in the Poster presentations, including the project videos and other printed material.
The Shallow Geothermal Energy Days was aimed at connecting policy makers to scientists, to promote and discuss opportunities for boosting this technology in the upcoming decade.
GEOFIT was one of the exhibitors at the GeoTHERM, held on June 2nd & 3rd, 2022, in Offenburg (Germany). This expo & congress represents one of the final dissemination and exploitation actions of the project, which will end October this year. GEOFIT showcased its main innovations, from heat exchangers and heat pumps to heating and cooling systems.
GEOFIT Project (Deployment of novel GEOthermal systems, technologies and tools for energy efficient building retroFITting) will participate in the GeoTHERM Expo & Congress 2022.
This event, to be held on June 2nd & 3rd, 2022, in Offenburg (Germany), is the Europe’s largest geothermal trade fair with congress focused on current developments in the industry and creating a platform dedicated exclusively to the topic of geothermal energy. At the on-site trade fair, an average of 3,600 trade visitors and 200 exhibitors from over 40 nations are expected.
One of the keys to having more energy efficient buildings is to be able to retrofit their cooling and heating systems to systems that use renewable energies as their main energy supply. Surface or shallow geothermal energy stands out for its great capacity to offer significant energy savings and reduction of greenhouse gases, emerging as one of the options with the greatest potential for implementation in the energy retrofitting of existing buildings. Leading European associations within the sector, such as the European Construction, built environment and energy efficient building Technology Platform (https://www.ectp.org/) and the European Technology and Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating & Cooling (RHC) (https://www.rhc-platform.org/) promote its deployment in order to develop and exploit Europe’s geothermal potential.
GEOFIT is an EU-funded innovation project aiming to develop and deploy cost-effective Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) on energy efficient building retrofitting, focused on removing barriers to the deployment of this renewable energy in the cooling and heating systems of existing buildings, contributing to achieving European targets for carbon emission reduction, energy consumption and energy efficiency. The project started in May 2018, has 24 partners at European level and a budget of almost €10 million.
In the fourth year of the project, Comet Global Innovation, the Communication and Dissemination leader of the project, along with the coordinator R2M Solution, want to show the progress of GEOFIT at the GeoTHERM. GEOFIT, besides having a stand dedicated to the technologies developed, will also count with participation of the partners GROENHOLLAND and AIT to present the project results along with the new configurations of ground heat exchangers for shallow geothermal energy and the innovative ground source heat pumps. In addition, the experiences of the demos carried out in Sant Cugat (Spain), Perugia (Italy), Bordeaux (France) and Aran (Ireland) will also be presented.
Shallow Geothermal Energy – GEOFIT (Easy-to-install, economical and enhanced geothermal systems for energy efficient building retrofitting) – Abstract
The Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Austria’s largest non-university research organization, has a business unit called ‘Thermal Energy System’ specialized on the development of heat pumps and thermal storages on both component and system level, and their integration into industrial processes, buildings and thermal networks. Within Geofit project, AIT is leading the development and demonstration of the electrically driven heat pump prototypes especially for the optimized integration of the newly developed ground heat exchangers and the test of cost-efficient alternative heat exchangers.
Edith Haslinger has been one of the main scientists involved in the optimization of the ground heat exchangers, working together with Groenholland. She is senior scientist at AIT and Project Manager for geothermal projects, both for deep and shallow geothermal and collaborates with industry, other research institutions and also technical offices. Through this interview, she explains how she landed in the field of geothermal energy by pure chance and her experience collaborating in Geofit, her first EU project, which she defines as a really positive project for the scientific community because one really sees that your ideas and visions for projects become real through the demonstration sites, and how these ideas really make a difference for people.
…the most interesting aspect of working with geothermal technologies is that geothermal is not a one uniform homogeneous field of knowledge, it is rather a combination of different fields and subjects. You have drilling, engineering, technical, geology, chemistry, political, social and economic aspects… so for successful geothermal projects you really have to combine all these fields and experience. This is the most interesting, working with different people, with other perspectives, different ideas, and everybody working together with a common goal…
Ajuntament de Sant Cugat (AJSC) has brought one of the demonstration sites to the Geofit project: Els Pins Vallès School. Some years ago, Ajuntament de Sant Cugat defined the goal of becoming a ‘Smart City’ and this is why it strengthens its focus on innovation based on public-private partnerships, with a strong commitment to testing and deploying forward-thinking solutions, together with private companies. The city has broad experience in successful implementation of full-scale pilots in the city of the winning solutions, in order to evaluate the impact and to lead to broader implementation.
Anna Mundet has been a key figure in the succesful implementation of the Geofit system at Els Pins Vallès school in Sant Cugat. She is technical engineer in industrial chemistry and works in the Municipal Building Maintenance Department, in the Urban Quality and Mobility Management Area. She defines herself as a person who loves learning new technologies and doing different things at work. She explains her experience in Geofit and the most interesting aspects of working with geothermal technologies.
‘…after working in geothermal technologies research and innovation, this is my first geothermal installation… it is interesting to know the performance of this new system and see if it can be implemented in other public buildings… and what’s more important is that these enhanced geothermal systems can be implemented in existing buildings…’
The Engineering School of the Università degli Studi di Perugia (UNIPG) provides training and research activities in the fields of structural, environmental and energy engineering. CIRIAF is an interuniversity research centre funded in 1997 whose objectives are: to promote research on environmental sustainability, renewables and energy efficiency, pollution and its effects on the environment; and to foster activities for the participation in international research programmes.
CIRIAF team brings its expertise in energy systems to the project and manages one of the Geofit pilots represented by an historical building located in the Sant’Apollinare Fortress.
Dr. Ing. Anna Laura Pisello, PhD in Energy engineering and assistant professor of environmental applied physics with more than five years of experience at UNIPG, explains her role in Geofit and what drew her to this line of work, energy-related.
‘…probably my passion for environmental sustainability and how we can make a change thanks to the improvements in energy efficiency but also human comfort level in the built environment…’
The Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies (ITAE) was established in Messina in 1980 by the National Council of Research (CNR), the main Italian research public organization. ITAE has long experience in environmentally friendly production, storage and use of energy, and has been contributing to development and penetration of technologies related to energy saving, low polluting energy production, renewable energy sources, hydrogen and fuel cells in Italy and Europe since the early 80’s.
In the field of thermally driven adsorption heat pumps and chillers, ITAE research activity in GEOFIT concerns several fields, covering different levels of development of the adsorption machine. Valeria Palomba, graduated in Materials Engineering at the University of Messina and working at ITAE, is one of the women actively participating in the project, and her work is focused on the development of thermal systems for energy conversion storage.
In this interview, Valeria Palomba talks about the challenges for women within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.
“…GEOFIT is deploying and demonstrating on the operational field different heating and cooling solutions exploiting geothermal energy as a source, so this project is important because we will have five operational sites where the potential of geothermal energy will be demonstrated…”
This project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 programme under Grant Agreement No. 792210.