Modelling and optimization of helical steel piles as in-ground heat exchangers for Ground-Source Heat Pumps

Sarah R. Nicholson, Aggrey Mwesigye, Seth B. Dworkin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Ground source heat pumps are a sustainable way to provide building heating and cooling due to their efficient use of near-constant ground temperatures as mediums for heat exchange. Conventional in-ground heat exchangers are limited by the large size of required borehole field installations and the high economic costs, therefore the pairing of in-ground structural helical piles with these heat exchangers offers a system of geothermal heating and cooling which can be more accessible and lower cost than traditional equipment. In this research, a novel helical steel pile was modelled using a 3-D numerical model and finite element analysis. This model was first validated with experimental data from a double-tube pile, with 24-hr transient operation outlet temperatures accurate within 3%. Finally, the steady state heat exchange rate per unit area was calculated, with the new helical steel pile geometry yielding an increase of 8.6 W/m, 13.2 W/m, and 16.2 W/m (for 2 L/min, 4 L/min, and 8 L/min flowrates respectively) over the validation model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052026
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 would like to acknowledge the financial support received from Innovia Corporation, the Canadian Research Chairs Program, and Ontario Centres of Excellence. This project was also made possible through the financial support of the Independednt Electricity System Operator (IESO). Further thanks belong to Andrew Lee of Innovia for helpful discussion and insights.

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


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