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A numerical study on performance efficiency of a low-temperature horizontal ground-source heat pump system

Gao, Wu ORCID:, Masum, Shakil ORCID:, Qadrdan, Meysam ORCID: and Thomas, Hywel Rhys ORCID: 2023. A numerical study on performance efficiency of a low-temperature horizontal ground-source heat pump system. Energy and Buildings 291 , 113137. 10.1016/j.enbuild.2023.113137

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Exploitation of shallow ground and its low-grade heat potential is fundamental to designing 5th generation district heating and cooling (DHC) networks. Horizontal ground-source heat pump (HGSHP) systems are a common way to utilize shallow geothermal energy. Realistic estimation and prediction of performance of a HGSHP system and shallow ground thermal behaviour should consider the whole system including building heating and cooling load, heat pump and ground heat exchanger, and the ground. This should be accompanied by realistic atmospheric and ground conditions. In this paper, a three-dimensional coupled thermal-hydraulic model with realistic boundary conditions adopting a whole system approach is presented. Dynamic heat pump coefficient of performance (COP) that depends on seasonal variation of heating/cooling demand and ground conditions are also considered. Model validations are conducted against experimental and analytical results in literatures. The model is applied for evaluating a HGSHP system to support development of a 5th generation DHC network on a potential site in the UK. Several influencing factors, such as ground moisture transfer, building thermal load mode, buried depth of ground loops, and initial ground temperature profile are studied to assess performance efficiency of the HGSHP system and evolution of ground thermal behaviour in response to heat extraction or rejection into the ground. The results show that 5% of the monthly total heat demand of the site could be met by the designed HGSHP system, consisting of 200 U-shaped ground loops buried at the depth of 3 m and pure water as the heat carrier. Overlooking the ground moisture transfer or hyperbolizing the ground saturation would overestimate the load-carrying capacity of the HGSHP system. The HGSHP system is more efficient with a higher heat pump COP under the heating and cooling mode than under the heating-only mode. Predicted performance of the HGSHP system improves with buried depth of the ground loops. The results also show that a 1 ℃ increase in the undisturbed ground temperature could suffice up to 8% of the monthly total heat demand of the site.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0378-7788
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 1 May 2023
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2023 18:20

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