What is a geothermal heat pump?

The most important part in a shallow geothermal system is the geothermal heat pump. We could relate it to the refrigerators or air conditioners we have in our homes and it consists of 4 elements: evaporator, compressor, condenser and expansion element. The geothermal heat pump (heat pump) works like water pumps, only it lifts, instead of water, thermal energy. That is, it draws energy from a space (eg temperature 4ºC) and transfers it to another with a higher temperature (eg 35ºC). Unlike conventional systems, geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) do not burn fossil fuels to produce heat. They consume minimal electrical energy which is rendered 4-5 times more upgraded as thermal energy.

What is open loop geo-exchangers?

Open loop earth exchanger systems are indicated in areas with a shallow water table depth and include two wells, one production in which the submersible pump is immersed and one reintroduction with a distance between them of >5m. In cases where the proximity to the sea or to the lake is such that it allows its use, the pumping of fluid is done with a simple underwater pumping assembly, the water is supplied and withdrawn from the heat pump through a plate heat exchanger that is either stainless steel or titanium being disassembled.

What are the advantages of a seawater GHP application?

  • Stable and high performance throughout the year
  • Relatively small required free surface
  • Contributes significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
  • It helps to reduce energy dependence on the import of fossil fuels and increases the security of energy supply.
  • Develops innovation in the field of energy supply.
  • Access to affordable energy supply becomes possible as it is not affected by changes in fossil fuel prices.
  • It is a safe installation because it works with minimal electrical energy which is rendered 4-5 times more upgraded as thermal energy.
  • There is no combustion or gaseous emissions.
  • No need for a boiler, nor an oil or other fuel tank.
  • Annual operating costs are reduced by 50-70% in heating and 20-40% in cooling, due to a high efficiency factor compared to a conventional installation.
  • A single unit for heating, cooling and domestic hot water with lower maintenance costs.
  • Quick payback due to fuel economy.
  • The geo-exchanger is underground and not accessible.
  • The heat pump requires minimal space.
  • In cooling, it does not work like common air conditioners with ambient air and thus does not increase the temperature of cities in the summer (heat island effect).
  • Licensing for the installation and operation of geothermal systems has been significantly simplified.

What are the disadvantages of a seawater GHP application?

  • Formation of deposits.
  • Corrosion of metal surfaces.
  • High investment costs and higher maintenance costs due to deposits.
  • Specialized installation.
  • Large required free surface for the access of mechanical equipment and the laying of the geo-exchanger.
  • Relatively reduced efficiency in cooling.
  • Restrictions on planting

Here you can see examples from other projects