When considering implementation of shallow geothermal energy as a renewable source for heating and cooling of buildings, special care should be taken in the hydraulic design of the borehole heat exchanger system. Laminar flow can occur in pipes due to the usage of glycol mixtures at low temperature or inadequate flow rates. This can lead to lower heat extraction and rejection rates of the exchanger because of higher thermal resistance. Furthermore, by increasing the flow rate to achieve turbulent flow and satisfactory heat transfer rate can lead to an increase in the pressure drop of the system and oversizing of the circulation pump which leads to impairment of the seasonal coefficient of performance at the heat pump. The most frequently used borehole heat exchanger system in Europe is a double-loop pipe system with a smooth inner wall. Lately, development is focused on the implementation of a different configuration as well as with ribbed inner walls which ensures turbulent flow in the system, even at lower flow rates. At a location in Zagreb, standard and extended thermal response tests were conducted on three different heat exchanger configurations in the same geological environment. With a standard TRT test, thermogeological properties of the ground and thermal resistance of the borehole were determined for each smooth or turbulator pipe configuration. On the other hand, extended Steady-State Thermal Response Step Test (TRST) incorporates a series of power steps to determine borehole extraction rates at the defined steady-state heat transfer conditions of 0/−3 °C. When comparing most common exchanger, 2U-loop D32 smooth pipe, with novel 1U-loop D45 ribbed pipe, an increase in heat extraction of 6.5% can be observed. Also, when the same comparison is made with novel 2U-loop D32 ribbed pipe, an increase of 18.7% is achieved. Overall results show that heat exchangers with ribbed inner pipe wall have advantages over classic double-loop smooth pipe designs, in terms of greater steady-state heat extraction rate and more favorable hydraulic conditions.
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