Saturday, September 11, 2010
Will heat pumps usher in the 'golden age' of geothermal?
The new issue of Time magazine reports on ground source (geothermal) heat pumps and concludes that "the golden age of geothermal may soon be upon us."
They point to a new 415,000 sq ft Ikea store that will open near Denver next year using geothermal heat pumps as providing the 'bump' to move the technology into the mainstream, in part because the company expects to make the system plans public. Ikea already uses geothermal heat pump systems in other countries. Ikea is partnering with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). Time says Ikea will drill 130 holes to 500 ft depths. [right, closed-loop system. Credit, US DOE Geothermal Technologies Program]
Last week, Dr. Masami Nakagawa with NREL's Low Temperature Geothermal Program spent a day and a half here in Tucson talking with us at AZGS about our work in deploying the National Geothermal Data System. Masami is working closely with the ground source heat pump industry and developed a comprehensive list of the kinds of data industry wants and needs to evaluate heat pump installations. We are looking for just this kind of 'content model' for all types of geothermal data to share with the other state geological surveys to serve as templates for compiling the most relevant data for the NGDS. For perhaps half the states in the country, ground source heat pumps are the dominant geothermal energy application.
We are arranging a workshop at NREL next month to demonstrate our data integration framework using the Geoscience Information Network (GIN) and work out plans for our developing partnership.
at 8:31 PM