Experimental and numerical investigation of a thermal storage medium for ground source heat pump applications

A. Mwesigye, H. V. Nguyen, D. Salt, Reza Daneshazarian, S. B. Dworkin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


As a means of improving performance and alleviating thermal imbalance issues associated with ground source heat pump systems, ground thermal energy storage is becoming increasingly appealing. Moreover, an efficient means of transferring energy from the borehole to the surroundings is crucial. In this paper, an experimental and numerical investigation of the performance of a thermal storage medium for ground source heat pump applications is presented. A thermal storage tank of 1 m diameter and 1.5 m height equipped with temperature sensors at different radial positions and depths was used. It incorporates a 150 mm-dimeter steel pipe in which a 25.4 mm u-shaped pipe is placed to emulate a borehole. A numerical model was developed using a finite element-based approach and validated with the obtained experimental data. Different bentonite-sand mixtures with varying thermal conductivities were considered inside and around the emulated borehole. A reduction in the tank temperature difference of about 57% was achieved by using bentonite-sand mixtures inside the borehole and around the borehole (in the tank) compared to using only bentonite inside the borehole and sand around the borehole. Results further show that the heat transfer performance increases by about 320% with the use of the bentonite-sand mixtures compared to the separated bentonite and sand arrangement. Moreover, the potential for energy storage with phase change material around the emulated borehole has been demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052010
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 23 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation and Energy Conservation in Buildings, IAQVEC 2019 - Bari, Italy
Duration: Sep 5 2019Sep 7 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding from the Canadian Research Chairs Program and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The financial support received from McClymont and Rak Engineers, Inc. is also duly acknowledged and appreciated.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.


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