Utilising the thermal storage of the earth with geoexchange ground loops.

Thinking outside the box with ancient battery storage.

 Each day we hear on the news or through other media about the current state of the future of our electricity supply and its capacity to keep up with future demand (especially in South Australia). We often hear about the growth and interest in Solar PV as a means to generate electricity and batteries as a means to store that energy for later use.

Reducing energy an important step

As the discussion has continued in regards to the generation and storage of electricity and our future energy security sometimes we can be left wondering why the discussion and noise being made is not as great in regards to reducing the amount of electricity we already use. One concern is that even though Solar PV and batteries are a fantastic product that as we add greater Solar PV supply and storage unless we examine our current use and reduce what we use we will be at this energy stalemate again in the future.

 If we are to look at reducing the amount of energy we use as a society we have a number of ways we can start to make a difference and achieve this goal. For example even something small at a personal level like the simple task of not leaving lights on when we are not in a room reduces the amount of energy we use. On a larger scale with a greater effect we can look at things like how we design buildings to reduce the amount of energy they consume. 

Our Ancient (Thermal) Battery

Most if not all people would agree the earth we live on is a pretty amazing thing! With plenty of things we understand about it and many things we are yet to understand. One thing that you may or may not know is that just like a battery the ground is a great store of energy.

Where a battery stores electricity the energy in the ground is stored in the very useable form of thermal (heat) energy. If we go down into the ground about 1.5 meters and up to about 120 meters deep the temperature of the earth stays relatively the same. In fact around Adelaide we expect to see ground temperatures between 16 to 19 deg c.

Like a Solar PV panel the surface of the ground is where the energy is soaked up. That energy is provided by the sun and continually recharges the ground around us.

Connecting to the Ancient (Thermal) Battery

To make use of this vast thermal battery we can utilise a geoexchange (ground source) heat pump connected to horizontal or vertical loops buried in the ground.

In winter, a water solution circulating through pipes buried in the ground absorbs heat from the earth and carries it into the home. Inside the home a heat pump is utilised to concentrate the earth’s thermal energy and then to transfer it to either water for a hydronic underfloor system, a hydronic radiator system or to air circulated through ductwork to heat the home.

In the summer, the process is reversed. The heat inside the home is extracted from the air and transferred through the heat pump to the ground loop piping. The water solution in the ground loop then carries the excess heat back to the earth.

Utilising the thermal storage of the earth with geoexchange.
Utilising the thermal storage of the earth with geoexchange.

To find out more about how a geoexchange system could reduce the amount of electricity required for your home or building click below to contact us and to discuss your comfort requirements.

 

Blog resources:

Find out more about the geoexchange options we can provide: Discover Geoexchange

 

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