The below is the introduction to a recent article in the May/June Edition of EcoGeneration magazine as authored by our Managing Director, Yale Carden. Please follow the link below to read the rest of the article and to see how geoxchange systems differ from geothermal energy systems.
The geothermal discourse in Australia to date has largely centred on energy generation and efforts to decrease our reliance on coal-fired power generation. However, the spectrum of geothermal technologies extends beyond energy generation and in some instances does not require unique geology, high ground temperatures or deep drilling programmes.
In fact, the most commonly applied geothermal system utilises ground temperatures that are roughly equivalent to the average annual air temperature for a particular location, and boreholes that are less than 150 metres (m) deep. These low temperature geothermal systems do not generate power and instead are used for heating, cooling and hot water.
The intention of this article is to provide an overview of two technologies at the low temperature end of the geothermal spectrum. In the process, it is hoped that the article will remove some of the general confusion evident amongst the general public, as well as industry, when it comes to defining low temperature geothermal applications. The first low temperature geothermal application to be addressed is commonly referred to as direct-use geothermal: the second to be addressed is a low temperature geothermal process that is coming to be widely labelled ‘geoexchange’.