Evaluation of different methodologies for the design of the wellfield in shallow geothermal systems
Low enthalpy geothermal resources play an essential role in climate change mitigation. When ensuring the correct future operation of ground-source heat pump systems, an accurate design is mandatory. In this sense, different methodologies can be implemented. Although using sophisticated software constitutes the most optimal solution, its implementation is sometimes inviable in certain projects (the increase of the initial investment required is not justified in small plants). This work is focused on evaluating and comparing procedures used in the design of shallow geothermal systems. Thus, the research includes a simple method based on manual calculations, the Climasoft free application, Earth Energy Designer (EED) software, and the new geothermal tool GES-CAL developed by researchers from the TIDOP Research Group (University of Salamanca). The objective is to evaluate this new software and compare the results of all the detailed methodologies. This comparison derives from applying these tools in the calculation of the same case study (a single-family house placed in Ávila, Spain). Results show that the easiest methods involve oversized well-field schemas that also mean higher initial investments. Regarding GES-CAL, it is considered an accurate and valid alternative for the design of all heat exchanger configurations, especially for those installations placed in the region of Ávila. However, EED is recommended to calculate high-power geothermal systems that require an exhaustive analysis of the ground and the heat carrier fluid behaviour.
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