Conference paper Open Access

Geofit: Experimental Investigations and Numerical Validation of Shallow Spiral Collectors as a Basis for Development of a Design Tool for Geothermal Retrofitting of Existing Buildings

Kling, Stephan; Haslinger, Edith; Lauermann, Michael; Witte, Henk; Reichl, Christoph; Steurer, Alexander; Dörr, Constantin; Pantelic, Dragisa; Friedrich, Robin

The H2020 GEOFIT (grant no. 792210) project will implement and demonstrate easy-to-install and economical geothermal systems in combination with heat pumps for energy-efficient building retrofits at five pilot sites across Europe - a historic building (ITA), a school (ESP), an indoor swimming pool (IRL), an office building (FRA) and a single-family house (IRL) (GEOFIT,2018). Heat pump tests and experimental laboratory tests with shallow geothermal heat collector types are carried out in climate chambers at the AIT. Material data of different soil types are determined in the thermophysics laboratory. Furthermore, CFD simulations of the conducted experiments are calculated with ANSYS Fluent. All this provides data and know-how for the development of a design tool for ground collector configurations such as helices and slinky loops, which are particularly relevant for building retrofits in GEOFIT. Experimental work focused on near-surface spiral geothermal heat exchanger configurations that can be installed at a maximum depth of five metres. Real-scale experiments were carried out for vertically oriented spiral collectors (helix) in real soil. One objective was to develop a measurement concept in the laboratory environment to create the framework for a reliable database. This database is used as a basis for the further development or new development of engineering design tools. Distributed resistance temperature sensors and a fibre-optic temperature measurement system (DTS) were used. The moisture content of the soil was recorded using soil moisture sensors. A heat flow was conditioned by means of a helix shaped electric heating cable in a 1m³ cuboid soil container. The measurements were carried out in a climate chamber at a defined constant temperature of 10 °C. The evaluation of the transient response behaviour is spatially resolved. This results in coordinate-related temperature points, which describe temperature gradients in all axes of the container over time. Three different types of soil were investigated. The temperature behaviour of humus soil, sand and a mixture of these was investigated experimentally in smaller experiments and the material data such as heat capacity, thermal conductivity and density were determined thermophysically in the laboratory. Based on this data, a CFD model was developed which can be used to modify the geometry parameters of the helix.

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