A new highly conductive geothermal energy system

In News by Maria Estela Izquierdo

A new highly conductive geothermal energy system to save up to 25 % installation costs

The new highly temperature-conductive plastic components developed within the GEOCOND project will improve the efficiency of geothermal facilities.

 The new system will make possible to reduce drilling depth by up to 20 %, thereby saving installation costs up to 25 %.

Valencia (14-01-2019).- Geothermal energy uses the heat stored inside the earth as an energy source for air conditioning systems. It is a renewable energy that is on the rise and has great potential.

In these systems, heat is captured by an underground geothermal probe, which consists of a plastic tube made of polyethylene through which a heat-transfer fluid flows. Among the different possible configurations, those in which the geothermal probe is installed vertically with respect to the ground, need to make boreholes of about 100 metres and drilling for the probes to be installed. Then, these holes are filled with specific fillers. The main cost of these installations lies in the drilling made in the ground.

The GEOCOND project, in which AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre participates, aims at developing new components for geothermal systems with high thermal-conductivity properties, such as plastic pipes or geothermal probes and fillers of the perforations used in the installation of such systems.

The use of new highly temperature-conducting components will improve the efficiency of geothermal facilities. This will reduce the drilling depth made during installation by up to 20 %, with the subsequent economic impact, an estimated up to 25% reduction in installation cost.

The three-and-a-half-year project has already achieved its first results. In the specific case of geothermal probes, AIMPLAS participates in the development and processing by extrusion at pilot plant scale of different plastic formulations with high thermal conductivity. Both the formulations and the conductive pipes will soon be obtained on an industrial scale at SILMA’s and CAUDAL EXTRULINE SYSTEMS’ facilities respectively.

The project, led by the Universitat Politècnica de València, is a European project in which a total of ten companies and bodies from different countries take part. They are experts in different components of geothermal systems, as well as in manufacturing materials. After a year and a half, the consortium met in Italy on the 15 and 16 November, where progress and the next steps were discussed.

The GEOCOND project is funded by the European Union H2020 programme, under grant agreement number 727583.

More information at: www.geocond-project.eu

About AIMPLAS

AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, is located in Valencia, Spain and is recorded at the Register of Technological Centres of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. The institute is member of FEDIT (Spanish Federation of Innovation and Technology Entities) and REDIT (Network of Technological Institutes of the Valencia Region).

AIMPLAS is a non-profit research association with the objective of operating as a technological partner for enterprises from the plastics industry and thus offering them integral and customized solutions by coordinating research, development and innovation projects as well as technological services (analysis and testing, technical assistance, training as well as competitive and strategic intelligence).