Geotech: Heat pumps

A group of international researchers is developing new efficient air-to-ground thermal machines capable of selecting the source according to climatic conditions.

New heat pumps are able to use different sources to respond effectively to different climatic conditions.

With this objective in mind, GEOTeCH is the largest European project of its kind born under Horizon 2020 of the European Union. The initiative brings together the experiences of 16 partners, both from industry and academia, including important Italian companies such as the University of Padua and the Alma Mater in Bologna. Together, the research team is trying to promote greater use of renewable heating and cooling through cost-effective surface geothermal systems. How? ‘Or’ What? With a thermal machine with double heat source, able to work with high efficiency whatever the weather conditions.

This is how dual-source heat pumps were born, which use both earth and air: depending on the climate and heating or cooling needs, the system determines the best source and thus operates as a geothermal air-water heat pump. The system is also capable of providing hot water throughout the year (during the summer it does so by using the condensate drain heat from the system).

To this end, the GEOTeCH consortium has developed innovative dry drilling technologies and improved the efficiency of heat exchangers, while working on system solutions and control technologies. The result is currently being tested on four sites selected at European level for their different climatic conditions.

Geothermal energy is the future: it is a clean and sustainable source of energy and does not produce greenhouse gases that can be harmful to the atmosphereยป, Explains Professor Rick Greenough of British University De Montfort University Leicester, partner of the project. “People mistakenly think that these heat pumps are expensive and that it takes a lot of space to install them, but it doesn’t have to be.. “

In fact, the project pursues two different solutions: a small system (up to 50 kW) suitable for individual houses and small tertiary buildings (schools, museums, offices …) and a larger system (more than 100 kW) for larger buildings.


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