Long-term performance and life cycle assessment of energy piles in three different climatic conditions

Melis Sutman, Gianluca Speranza, Alessio Ferrari, Pyrène Larrey-Lassalle, Lyesse Laloui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The main purpose behind the use of energy piles is to enable the exploitation of geothermal energy for meeting the heating/cooling demands of buildings in an efficient and environment-friendly manner. However, the long-term performance of energy piles in different climatic conditions, along with their actual environmental impacts, has not been fully assessed. In this paper, the results of a finite element model taking into consideration the heating and cooling demands of a reference building, and the intermittent operation of a ground source heat pump, are revealed to examine the long-term performance of energy piles. Furthermore, a life cycle assessment model is implemented to compare the environmental performance of energy piles and a group of conventional piles. The environmental enhancement provided by the adoption of a ground source heat pump system is quantified with respect to a conventional heating and cooling system. The obtained results show that (i) the energy pile system can meet the majority of the heating/cooling demands, except during the peak demands, (ii) the geothermal operation results in temperature fluctuations within the energy piles and the soil, (iii) the use of energy piles results in a significant reduction in environmental impacts in the majority of the examined cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1191
Number of pages15
JournalRenewable Energy
Volume146
Early online date5 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Energy pile
  • Geothermal energy
  • Heat transfer
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Space heating–cooling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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