Geothermal Academy: Focus Center for Data Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination

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Geothermal Academy: A Pathway for Confirmation of Ground-Source Heat Pumps in the United States. In 2008, Oak Ridge National Laboratory issued a report on geothermal heats pumps (GHPs) focused on the market status, barriers to adoption, and actions to overcome these barriers (Hughes 2008). Of the barriers raised in this report, of the most pressing is the lack of performance and energy usage data for GHPs. Further, an associated barrier is a lack of a fair comparison of the energy usage of conventional heating and cooling systems for the same building. Because of these barriers, we are not able to ... continued below

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114 pages

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Nakagawa, Masami, Ph.D.; Fujiono, Hendro, Ph.D.; McCartney, John S., Ph.D. & Reed, Adam, J.D., Esq. October 31, 2011.

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Geothermal Academy: A Pathway for Confirmation of Ground-Source Heat Pumps in the United States. In 2008, Oak Ridge National Laboratory issued a report on geothermal heats pumps (GHPs) focused on the market status, barriers to adoption, and actions to overcome these barriers (Hughes 2008). Of the barriers raised in this report, of the most pressing is the lack of performance and energy usage data for GHPs. Further, an associated barrier is a lack of a fair comparison of the energy usage of conventional heating and cooling systems for the same building. Because of these barriers, we are not able to say how much energy is used by well-designed GHP systems on a long-term basis, nor are we able to say how better their energy usage is compared to conventional systems. The need for a fair comparison with conventional systems is particularly relevant as modern versions of conventional air conditioners, gas furnaces, and boilers have also incorporated energy saving technologies. As a first step to address this barrier, the Geothermal Academy has developed a framework for data collection. This framework has already been applied to several geothermal installations in Colorado (Nakagawa etal. 2010). The framework classifies data into different categories based on the relevance of the dat to understanding the energy consumption of a GHP system. The categories are: direct energy consumption data, heat exchange performance data, and GHP design parameter data. The main recommendation of this project is to include a minimal data collection system on each heat pump installed in the U.S., capable of measuring the electrical energy consumed, the entering/exiting fluid temperatures, and circulation rates. This is a viable and cost effective solution which will provide performance data, as data collection systems are only a fraction of the cost of a GHP unit and modern GHP units already incorporate sensors to monitor energy usage and the entering and exiting fluid temperatures. Specifically, these sensors are used to control the GHP unit to provide the heat exchange required to provide a desired temperature within a building. Accordingly, it is straightforward for this operational data to be collected to start building a database of GHP performance such that can provide statistically relevant comparison with other heating and cooling systems. In addition to collecting the data, such a system could be easily implemented with a wireless transmitter so that data could be sent to a home PC where it could be transmitted to a central database. Display of the data on a user's PC would provide feedback on the performance of their system which could perhaps refine their use of the system to reach their personal energy goals. Although a system such as that described above has yet to be incorporated directly into commercial GHP systems, it is straightforward and inexpensive to outfit a GHP with a data acquisition system and supplemental sensors. A secondary recommendation is to consider funding a pilot effort that will collect the energy and performance time series data from a representative sample of installations. A preliminary pilot effort was undertaken by the Geothermal Academy at a middle school in Ft. Collins, Colorado, which demonstrated the feasibility and ease of such an effort. A full-scale pilot effort would be most suited to evaluate the performance of GHP installations in different climate settings, preferably focusing on residential, commercial, and public buildings. If a full-scale pilot effort were to be undertaken, it is recommended to also identify large buildings which may incorporate a back-up conventional heating and cooling system in order to provide statistically relevant comparison data to assess the improvement in GHP energy usage over other heating and cooling technologies. Such a data collection system would provide several benefits to the different sectors of society (consumers, installers, policy makers, researchers, utility companies, government regulators) which are concerned with GHP technology and implementation.

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114 pages

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  • Report No.: De-EE0002800-1
  • Grant Number: EE0002800
  • DOI: 10.2172/1045164 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1045164
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc828956

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  • October 31, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 6:20 p.m.

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Nakagawa, Masami, Ph.D.; Fujiono, Hendro, Ph.D.; McCartney, John S., Ph.D. & Reed, Adam, J.D., Esq. Geothermal Academy: Focus Center for Data Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination, report, October 31, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc828956/: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.