Geothermal Heat Pumps

Water to Water & Ground Sourced Heat Pumps

Are Geothermal Heat Pumps for Me?

Geothermal Heat Pump technology has gained a lot of publicity over the last few years, due to its revolutionary energy management potential and its ability to be used for both heating and cooling applications through out the year.

However, this technology relies on the fact that the Earth (below the surface) remains at a relatively constant temperature through the year.

In summer the ground is often cooler than the ambient and thus has the ability to absorb the extra heat that is often produced from an air conditioner system.  Like wise in winter the ground will be warmer that the ambient temperature and thus can provide the extra heat required to heat a house. Geothermal systems have also been used in swimming pool heating, house temperature control (as mentioned) and many other heating and chilling applications across domestic, commercial and industrial processes.

The suitability of a Geothermal in any given area has a few key areas for consideration.

  • Step 1. Compare Ambient Temperature averages verses Ground Temperature averages through the year.

Locations where you have an ambient temperature for more than 60% of the year above 20 Celsius may suit geothermal for cooling needs, but not so good for geothermal heating applications. In Australia areas such as Queensland and Northern Territory fall in this band. Areas that have more than 60% colder than 20 Celsius ambient temperatures would be great for geothermal heating use, but usually not so good for chilling applications. Where areas more balanced to the 50:50 through out the year may be suitable for both applications.

  • Step 2. Do a Ground Substrate Survey

Underground water and moister soils make for better heat conduction conditions for Geothermal use. Where sandy and very dry soils are poor conductors and not very suitable at all. You should always do a ground survey to gain better understanding of your suitability. Also a substrate survey will show how deep you may need to dig for geo-pipe installation.

  • Step 3 – Perform an Energy Audit

Find out the requirement of the project in heating and cooling for yearly ground capacity balancing. This heat load audit will help you understand the size and capacity of the Geothermal system. It will also let you plan around equipment, digging and hole requirement for the Geothermal system.

  • Step 4. Horizontal or Vertical geothermal System

Once you know what capacity you require, the soil type and geothermal suitability, you will then know how big a system you will require. you now have to see if you have the room for a horizontal geo-pipe system or have to dig down for a vertical geo-pipe system. A horizontal system takes far more room, but is a lot more cost effective to do.

Most of Australia has more temperate ambient conditions, and thus does not have the same cold winters as Europe (where geothermal is highly popular) and thus often do not have all the benefits of a geo-system  available to them. Areas such as country towns, Canberra, the Mountains where winters go below 5 Celsius and over 30 during summer often come to enjoy all the benefits of a geothermal system.

Geothermal systems are often fairly dear to set up the ground loops, ready for the Geothermal Heat Pump installation. However, as pricing of electricity and gas go up, we are all looking at ways to be more efficient and reduce our running costs. There are also people and companies, less concerned in installation costs, that want to reduce their impact on the environment, without losing creature comforts or project outcomes.

As you may have read in other parts of our web site, our focus here at Toyesi is energy efficient heating and cooling solutions via the use of a Heat Pump.

Heat pumps come in a couple of formats:

  • Air source heat pump: Uses the outside air as the heat source or heat sink – essentially most reverse cycle air conditioners, hot water heaters and swimming pool heaters etc.  (Link opens new page)
  • Water Source Heat Pump: Uses water as the heat source or heat sink instead of air, and more common in commercial applications. Large buildings often have large cooling towers. Often over summer cooling towers cool the building down and the excess heat is trapped in a water circuit and then piped through a heat pump and may be used to heat a pool, or supply heat to a hot water system.
  • Ground Source Heat Pump: Also called Geothermal Heat Pumps, use the ground as the heat source or heat sink via pipes that are placed either vertically or horizontally into the ground. These pipes are known as Geo-loops and they usually circulate water, or refrigerant around the loop. The heat pump uses this water loop to absorb or reject heat into the ground. These may be closed loops or open loops.
  • Geo-Hybrid Heat Pump: – Also known as a duel system that monitors both air and water temperatures and draws or rejects energy from the best option at the time of need. So it combines the combinations above to maintain highest available efficiency at any given time.

Water to Water Heat Pumps

Cooling towers come in all sorts of shapes and styles, but their main function is to cool. They reject heat to the atmosphere by cooling a body of circulating water, usually through evaporation or heat transfer from the water to cool air.

Common applications include cooling circulation water used in oil refineries, thermal power stations and HVAC systems for cooling buildings. Our main focus is in the field of HVAC systems and one of the byproducts of a cooling tower in a HVAC system is warm water usually around 34 Celsius.

This water can then be passed back into the building and through a Toyesi Water to Water heat pump. The waste Heat is then taken out of the water to return cooler back to the cooling tower, making the cooling tower more efficient.

The waste heat after it has been removed is also at the same time increased by the heat pump for additional uses. There uses may be for hot water or swimming pool heating.

They are very efficient as they have the same benefits of a air-sourced heat pump but allows two uses from the same heat pump system. Increased cooling tower efficiency and heater water for additional use.

Water to Water heat pumps use less electricity than and air sourced heat pump, as they do not have to use a fan and fan motor, which also makes them quieter. But you do however require 2 water circulation pumps. But since the cooling tower requires one anyway this should not be seen as an unnecessary cost.

A typical water to water heat pump can cost from $10,000 to $30,000 or more depending on your application and heat load requirements.

installing a gerothermal system - Product Information - Geothermal Heat Pumps
Installing a Toyesi Water to Water Geothermal System

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source or Geothermal heat pumps work as advanced water to water heat pumps. They work by circulating water via ground loops and absorb or reject heat directly from or into the ground.

Ground loops can be closed, where water is circulated around and around the loop and does not suffer from evaporation or water losses. They may need to be treated or filtered to ensure no pathogens build up in the loop otherwise it is uncommon to do high maintenance on these systems.

Open loops can be used where there is an underwater aquifer. Like an underwater river. Water is pulled up out of one part and then rejected into another part.

Typically ground loops are used as heat sinks in summer, and heat source in winter.

geo set up - Product Information - Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal Heat Pump Set up (Image Source Unknown)

However, the ground loops can be expensive to install. They can be installed horizontally if you have the space or vertically by digger deep holes down into the land. These holes can be as costly as the heat pump or more.

Experts in this field will do a soil and geography survey before estimating how many holes and weather a closed loop or open loop can be used in your area.

Care must be taken as if you take too much heat out of the ground it could cause subterranean freezing rendering your heat pump useless. Your expert may advise on pumping any extra or waste heat back into the ground to prevent this from happening.

Geothermal heat pumps and ground loops work best where ground temperatures are constantly warmer than ambient temperature, especially during the winter time. The approximate ground temperature in Sydney and Perth is approximately 16-18oC, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra is approximately 15-17oC, whilst in Brisbane it is 22-23oC.  In contrast, Darwin has a ground temperature of approximately 31oC and Hobart approximately 14oC.  (Source Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

Before you commit to Geothermal feel free to download our Consideration Document below.

Hybrid Geothermal Heat Pumps

There are many advantages on using water to water heat pumps, regardless if it is from a cooling tower or ground geothermal system.

However, cooling towers are less effective in winter as they are no longer required to cool the air for a building and as such no longer provide adequate water temperatures for effective heat transfer. Gas boilers are often engaged over winter to remedy this situation negating all the running cost savings and the extra system efficiencies experienced over summer.

In Geothermal systems, which take advantage of stable ground temperatures, are not effective if used as a heat sink all year round to heat lets say a pool. They are only good where they can have a balanced heat load across the year.

This got us thinking as we have created  very cleaver smart Hybrid Geothermal Heat Pump. This system will use our developed Smart Transthermal technologies to hand shake between a Water to water geothermal heat pump and an air sourced heat pump in a single unit.

Using the Transthermal technology will allow for not only temperature monitoring to draw on either the ambient or geothermal source for maximum efficiencies, but also energy handshaking between the two to allow for standard geothermal energy boosting and storage of excess heat.

This system should provide far greater efficiency and improved environmentally green solution for the more astute builder or pool owner.

omni range c40 - Product Information - Geothermal Heat Pumps

We have taken all the smarts from our PC control board and written them into smart coding for the Innotech controllers. We then took years of engineering knowledge and our understanding of heat dynamics and refrigerants and expanded this to provide our smart Transthermal technology.

We are also developing, air handling systems, multi-function systems and custom systems which may include pool heating, hot water heating and space heating/cooling all from a single unit.

The advantages of these systems is to take a heat pump from say COPs of 5 right up to 10 or more.

Want to know more Contact us.

Contact an industry expert.

If you require a soil survey or an energy audit Toyesi can put you in touch with Geoexchange Technologies. We work alongside them to ensure all aspects of a Geothermal system are covered.

Once all parties are happy, Toyesi then can manufacture the Geothermal Heat Pump to suit the designed application.


geotec logo red 600x163 - Product Information - Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geoexchange Technologies Pty Ltd (Geo-Tec) provides a range of services to the ground sourced energy heating and cooling market, specialising in the heat exchanger component constructed outside of the building. We can offer advice and services to individual developers or building services engineers considering geothermal technology. Our services range from initial feasibility desk-top studies for ground heat exchanger installations to complete design-construct projects. Geo-Tec are heat pump manufacturer independent, that is, we focus on the single most important factor affecting the heat pump performance; the earth.

With the trends in environmental legislation designed to encourage developers to incorporate new “green” technologies and innovative sources of energy into their projects, ground source heating and cooling is at the forefront of these technologies. Ground heat exchange (geoexchange) technology is not new. While the basic technology has been around for more than fifty years, many improvements recently have been made including types of materials used, design and installation methods, and the efficiencies of compressors, pumps and associated Toyesi Geothermal Heat Pumps & equipment.

Peter Buck
Geoexchange Technologies (Geotec Drilling)
PO Box 609, COMO 6952 Perth Western Australia
Tel: +618 93679454
Mob: 0409367945

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