Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We are often asked the question of WHY Geothermal Systems are preferable to traditional HVAC Systems when the initial prices are drastically higher than the construction of traditional systems. Here are environmental and economical reasons why Geothermal Systems are superior...

Free and renewable source of stored energy from the ground.
Savings from 30-70% for heating, cooling, and hot water
Quiet and Enhanced Comfort
Reliable 25 yrs and Environmentally Friendly lowest CO2 emissions

Operating unit inside and heat exchanger loop is underground…no external compressor
Low operating and maintenance cost 25% to 50% less than conventional system.
GSHP are among the quietest ever designed…similar to a refrigerator in sound.
Geothermal has no flame, no flue, no odors, and no danger of fire or fumes and a long life.

Natural dehumidification
Heat one zone or room and cool the other at the same time.
Less space for equipment – more space for offices or storage.
Geothermal systems deliver "even" space conditioning year round.

You can get heating, cooling, and domestic hot water, three important benefits from a single compact unit.
Dependable, Reliable, Long Service Life
HDPE pipe warranties of 50+ years in US. In Europe 100+ years. Same pipe used for natural gas delivered to homes
No boiler or cooling tower unless excessive heating or cooling required
Significantly reduce full time maintenance staff and eliminate boiler maintenance
Eliminate chemical and other costs associated with the prevention of scaling and bacterial growth
Eliminate year-round tower operation that requires a lot of expense especially during the colder weather months
Low source energy use and low air pollutant emissions- green technology

Delivered Cost
Cost Relative to Ground-Source
Savings Using Ground Source
Natural Gas
(AFUE = 95%)
$1.20 / Therm
(AFUE = 95%)
$2.00 / gal.
Fuel Oil
(AFUE = 95%)
$3.00 / gal.
(Eff. = 100%)
$0.06 / kWh
(HSPF = 6.8)
$0.06 / kWh
(COPa = 3.5)
$0.06 / kWh

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mountain Research Station

Recently, the Geothermal grant team members met with an engineer and facility operators at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC to discuss and review plans for the new Geothermal System that will be implemented in the coming months. The system will be constructed on an existing building on the MRS property that will ultimately be used as a pre-cooling station. Once the harvested crops are in the building, observations will take place to review the efficiency of the Geothermal vs. the current traditional HVAC system in regards to the speed and quality of pre-cooling efforts.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Geothermal Information Session

In order to promote the knowledge and use of Geothermal HVAC Systems, an information session will be held on Haywood Community College's campus on Tuesday, December 4th, 2013 in building 1500, room 1510 in Clyde, NC. The Geothermal expert guest speaker will discuss the characteristics, development, and utilization of Geothermal Resources and their many benefits.

We encourage anyone in Western NC to join us for the presentation, wether industry professionals, those in the agriculture industry, educators, and all other interested in the topic of Geothermal Resources. These types of HVAC systems can offer impressive savings on energy and money. The info sessions will explain in depth the benefits and how it works, and will be followed by a question and answer portion open to attendees.

Farmers of Western North Carolina can benefit greatly from Geothermal Systems as a way to pre-cool their crops, which can significantly extend the shelf life of their products in comparison with traditional HVAC systems that are currently being used in commercial buildings to remove the ground heat from crops.

Please contact John Mark Roberts at Haywood Community College to reserve your spot now!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Challenges with Ground Source Precooling

One of the main changes from mainstream geothermal use in the technology that we plan to use at HCC are the temperatures that we are trying to reach for the interior of the Precooling area.

Geothermal or ground source heat pumps are typically used to condition room air for the comfort of its inhabitants. This temperature is always near 70 degrees. In order to bring a crop to a ideal temperature for storage the room temperature of the precooling area needs to be much less then 70 degrees.

There are several things that will contribute to the interior temperature of the Precooling area before it is conditioned.  The walls must also be super insulated to maintain the temperatures we are trying to reach. The crop that is brought into the area will be at the exterior temperature. Large quantities of product will certainly add to the load for the cooling equipment. This temperature will be near 80 degrees or higher for most of the crops that are harvested in the summer months.

Bringing large quantities of 80 degree crop to 40 degrees demands quite a lot from the cooling equipment.

If the gray building is the Precooling Room we are much better to draw temperature change from the ground temperature than from the air temperature.
The high air temperature (80)during harvest time for most WNC crops would certainly be more costly to cool than the constant ground temperature(57).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

History of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Technologies are not new...

The challenges of making geothermal a mainstream technology center around education. The technology is a guaranteed energy reduction if installed correctly. The challenge lies in educating prospective clients and contractors in its use. This is one of the things that we are focusing on at Haywood Community College. We will give the public answers to the questions that they ask. We can teach probable contractors what they need to know.
Look how far we've come.

  • Use of caves’ geothermal energy for winter warmth and summer cooling; people gathering at hot springs to enjoy warmth from deeper geothermal resources.
Early history
  • The Romans used geothermally heated water in their bathhouses for centuries. The Romans also used the water to treat illnesses and heat homes. In Iceland and New Zealand, many people cooked their food using geothermal heat. Some North American native tribes also used geothermal vents for both comfort heat and cooking temperatures. Most of these early uses of the Earth's heat were through the exploitation of geothermal vents.
  • Early peoples also utilize near-constant subsurface temperatures (geothermal energy) to keep vegetables in root cellars from freezing or spoiling.
  • Energy from hot springs begins to be used in the United States to heat homes and bathhouses.
  • Hot water from the Banff, Alberta, hot springs piped to hotels and spas.
  • Italian scientist Piero Ginori Conti invents the first geothermal electric power plant.
  • First ground-source geothermal heat pump installed at Commonwealth Building in Portland, Oregon.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric begins operation of first large-scale geothermal power plant at the Geysers north of San Francisco, producing 11 megawatts. Today, 69 geothermal generating facilities are in operation at 18 resource sites around the United States.
  • During the oil crisis of 1973, many countries begin exploring alternative sources of energy, including geothermal energy. This sparks government-sponsored renewable energy research programs in Germany, Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Geothermal heat pumps and underground thermal energy storage systems gain popularity as a means to reduce heating and cooling costs, especially in commercial and institutional buildings.
  • Drilling begins to assess high-temperature geothermal resources for electricity generation in British Columbia.
  • Ten-year federal research program assesses geothermal energy resources, technologies and opportunities for Canada.
  • As public concerns about environmental issues such as air pollution and climate change grow, governments in Canada and elsewhere take a greater interest in using renewable energy as a way to decrease greenhouse gases and other emissions.
  • Ontario Hydro funds a program to install geothermal heat pumps in 6,749 residences not served by natural gas.
  • Western GeoPower Corp. applies for government approvals to build a $340-million, 100-megawatt geothermal power plant at Meager Creek, northwest of Whistler, B.C., which could begin producing power as early as 2007.
  • Manitoba government announces program to provide loans of to $15,000 towards installation of geothermal heat pump systems.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What WNC Crop?

Here is what we know to date:

For those of you who are experts in this area forgive me if you are reading:

Crops that use Precooling in WNC, or Postharvest Precooling Methods

Green Beans
Field peas

Methods of Precooling, We can use forced air, hydrocooling, or still air. Each of these methods is different and applies to different crops. For example: Apples respond well to hydrocooling but tomatoes need room cooling. Tomatoes are very sensitive to chilling. A geothermal unit can assist in each of these areas because it simple allows the owner to bring a the temperature of the cooling fluid, air or water in this case to a temperature needed by the commodity  (crop). Each crop needs a different temperature but the temperature change needed of the cooling fluid will always be less when using geothermal. This temperature difference is referred to as the DELTA T. Delta T from 58 to 50 requires less energy than Delta T from 82 to 50. The temperature of the earth is constant (for the most part) at depths fro 50 to 200 feet. We utilize this in any type of ground source heat pump.

The challenge at this point is to create equipment that will accomplish this precooling in a method that is cost effective and accessible to people in WNC. We are currently using ground source heat pumps for residences and commercial buildings but people prefer to be at 70 degrees and tomatoes like it more near 40-50 degrees depending on their maturity. This being one of the challenges of the progress,

Today's link in the industry:
A picture and bio of the MT Research Station.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

What is Precooling?

Precooling is the rapid removal of heat from freshly harvested crop.

Dr. Chris Gunter has provided a wealth of information in the area of Pre Cooling crops.

Check out the following link for some of the basics on precoolers:  http://pre-coolers.net/vertical.html