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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 6

District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

03/24/2012 6:45 AM

Syracuse NY sits on top of a large Brine Aquifer that was used in the 1800 to produce most of the salt used in the US, thus the name Salt City.

I believe the Brine Aquifer below Syracuse has enough heat capacity to serve as an Energy Bank in support of a City wide Open Loop Geothermal District Heating and Cooling network.

The District would consist of a network of PE pipes carrying a water/glycol solution from city building to central brine heat exchangers located over the brine aquifer that runs under the N/S valley in the center of the city.

I am looking for help to do a feasibility study, design concepts for large brine/glycol heat exchanger, information on any similar projects.

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Pathfinder Tags: Open Loop Geothermal District Heating and Cooling
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#1

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

03/24/2012 9:44 AM
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#2

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

04/12/2012 3:44 PM

Actually, much of upstate NY (south of the Adirondacks) sits not on a brine aquifer, but on large deposits of rock salt (halite). Around Syracuse, there are some areas where the aquifer manages to infitrate the rock causing salt springs, especially at the south end of Onondaga Lake. Much of the salt production that was done in Syracuse in the early days was by pumping hot water into drilled wells, and then capturing and evaporating the resulting brine to get salt.

If there were that much brine down there, our lakes around Syracuse wouldn't be as fresh and clean (except Onondaga Lake itself, but that's a different story relating to the salt industry) as they are. Otherwise we'd be fishing in salt lakes and streams.

The other consideration is that the salt layer is in many places several thousand feet down. I'm not sure of the depth under Syracuse, but in Lansing, NY, just west of us where Cargill Co. has a rock salt mine, I believe they go down about 2200'-2500' before they get to the salt layer.

Also, with all the hoopla about hydrofracking for natural gas in the southern tier of NY, there may be opposition to drilling that would put other chemicals such as ethylene glycol in the ground which could contaminate the aquifer.

I'm not saying it's not feasible, but there may be some significant hurdles to making it happen.

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#3

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

04/14/2012 10:11 PM

open loop systems are generally not as efficient as closed loop because of 1. Extra pump head required 2. fouling 3. reluctance on the part of government to allow reinjection. If you are considering heat exchanger anyway, why not consider closed loop and eliminate the problems. Oklahoma state University is the home of IGSPA and the man most knowledgeable in my experience is Ron Neal with whom I have lost contact but he could probably be located through IGSPA. You will meet resistance from pseudo experts who will let you know that although geothermal works in Canada and Alaska it won't work in NY or NJ because of the climate, Good luck.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

04/15/2012 10:03 AM

I have used Open Loop to heat and cool my house in Central NY for over 35 years. The advantage over Closed Loop- I am operating at actual ground temp around 50F, 5- 6F warmer than Closed Loop (because of the delta T needed to transfer heat into the loop from the ground).

The advantage of Commercial Open Loop is it can be done with two wells rather than 100s, less complicated and less costly.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

04/15/2012 3:32 PM

I agree if you are doing a small install such as a house if you look at first cost, are able to maintain the system in regard to scale removal and pump maintenance yourself etc. On a larger system the operating costs grow with the additional flow requirement and maintenance. The temperature you reference will work with most watersource heatpumps as well as extended range geothermals. I have never installed a system in NY but I repair and maintain several between NY, NJ , Conn and Pa. as well as Fla. There are several states that won't allow reinjecting the water (Fl) and NJ requires use of antifreezes that reduce specific heat and increase head. My preferred design is horizontal loop which allows us to eliminate the need for auxillary heat. Closed loop wells have a tendancy to clog with sediment because of the reduced flow rate which in horizontal with methanol for antifreeze, eliminates almost all TD loss. In the case that starts this thread the man is proposing pumping brine from a considerable depth at a very large volume so I would look at the energy required for open loop operation. Either way there has to be analysis of all methods before a decision could be made. My main fear in his design would be the effects of salt crystalization as we extract and inject heat in the system. I know in fracking there are additives to handle this but would it apply in this application.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

04/15/2012 4:39 PM

In Syracuse the brine aquifer is less than 100 ft down. A number of Syracuse buildings used the aquifer for cooling through chillers into the 1970 when they were told to stop dumping brine water on the surface. We are going back to what they were doing up until the 70's and using reinjection to eliminate dumping on the surface.

We will heat exchange a brine primary loop to a glycol secondary loop serving extended range heat pumps throughout the building/district. A couple of pilot projects are underway.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

04/15/2012 5:16 PM

Thanks, I saw 2k to 2.5k and it threw me. Is there a problem with the salt crystalizing and if so how do you manage that. Curious to know if salt crystalization occurs mostly during extraction or rejection or if this is not a problem? Scope of project and design are of great interst to me although my days are mostly behind me at this point. My largest was only 180 tons where yours appears able to one day serve a whole town.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: District Heating and Cooling Based on Open Loop Geothermal

02/24/2014 8:36 AM

Up to date w are still at about 1/3 to 1/4 OPEN well and NOT to dumping into another well in NEOH, a very wet part of the US , like Dayton Ohio, too.

Since the 70's i Dayton some 250 ton chillers are cooled though, with 90ft apart 2 well systems in very sandy beds, raising the ground temps below the buildings from 54 to ~60f.

In NEOH many wells over 20, 30 and 130 GPM to even 400+ GPM out of 6" casings (that, a test) provide a most suitable pump and dump to pond and surface, each in particularly acceptable GTHP and Pre-Cooling and some for heating with 52f waters.

Today's highest efficiency GTHP's are still efficiently considered to lifting 1.3 GPM per ton of compressor from 120 ft dynamic well water levels. (not GPM per "sized-rating' 'tons' " on the outer model number, but per actual compressor tons, inside a unit)

Cooling only requires 3/4 gpm per compressor ton.

Various VFD, variable speed air source heat pumps today may point to just half that water-lifting to be efficient at first in an instantaneous consideration, but these COP 4.1 heating GTHP's of the late 70's are still on line even with annual iron-out and well- bacteria cleanings in 'tougher' well direct pond and muddy spring app's.

GTHP Cooling can be about watering the lawns all summer with 85f to 90f water or the well is off-line in 100% Heat Recovery to Domestic Hot Water heating- full heat-reclaim such as was patented in 1981 by Hydro-Temp Corp of AR [not hydro-delta, hydro-heat]

and is sort of similar in Water Furnace 3d or Climate Master/Carrier and Hydron/GeoComfort/TETCO

Please see Latest Rated Energy Star™ Closed loop efficiencies, though, with great reasons to just go closed Earth-Coupled Loop.

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=most_efficient.me_geothermal_heat_pumps

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