Mitigation potential of horizontal ground coupled heat pumps

GROund coupled heat pumps MITigation potential for current and future climatic conditions

This 3-year project was funded by The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The project ran from April 2009 to November 2012.

A full description can be seen on the GROMIT web site.

Project Overview 

The seasonal temperature differences encountered in soil are harnessed by ground coupled heat pumps (GCHPs) to provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, thus they produce less CO2 than conventional heating systems. The heat pump is coupled to an underground heat exchanger (HE), generally made of High Density Polyethylene pipe, filled with fluid (e.g. water with anti-freeze); these HEs can be installed horizontally (generally cheaper) or vertically.

A horizontal GCHP system will have a maximum capacity for heating and cooling depending on technical factors such as the HE type. However, it will also to a large extent be determined by interactions between the below-ground parts of the system and the soil environment (the latter is influenced by the vegetation and atmospheric conditions).


Professor Anne Verhoef will be working with partners including:  NCAS-Climate, University of Nottingham, the British Geological Survey, CEH-Wallingford and EarthEnergy.

Analyses and techniques

The research will involve long-term modelling runs with the UK community land surface model (JULES), linked to a GCHP heat exchanger model, to assess the performance of horizontal ground coupled heat pumps under changing climatic conditions. Short-term model results will be verified using measurements of the immediate environment (soil-vegetation-atmosphere) of GCHPs.

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