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Geothermal energy for costeffective and sustainable heating and cooling

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GeoCollector (Geothermal energy for costeffective and sustainable heating and cooling)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-06-30

"With the GeoCollector project, the market launch of a novel technology for the more efficient use of near-surface geothermal energy was implemented. In concrete terms, the two German companies Holzammer Group and GeoCollect GmbH have developed an innovative geothermal absorber system as a cost-effective heat source system for near-surface geothermal energy - the GeoCollector. Its new optimised construction design enables a significantly higher surface extraction capacity (142.61 W/m²) to be achieved than with conventionally used surface collectors or geothermal probes. The high surface removal rate means that the GeoCollector is extremely space-saving. It requires only 1/7 of the land area of conventional ground collector systems. For the installation in a modern single-family house, only 35 m2 of unsealed land area (instead of 245m²) are required for 5 kW extraction load.

The market for near-surface geothermal systems is generally seen as very promising. Due to the increased rejection of deep boreholes (e.g. due to water protection concerns) and the contradictory use of air-water heat pumps (increased energy demand), the use of near-surface brine plants is expected to have a very large market in the future, which is why we expect the market launch of near-surface geothermal energy to be a great and long-term success.

Near-surface geothermal technologies offer great technological opportunities for energy savings and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on the one hand, and for ensuring an optimal indoor climate in buildings in summer and winter on the other. Due to the complex installation, connection and risks involved in the implementation of projects, however, previous system solutions have had little appeal to potential buyers and have not yet been able to establish themselves on the market throughout Europe. An unsolved problem is above all the large space requirement of the heat source system and the unfavourable cost-benefit ratio. Both are particularly unfavourable for the use of near-surface geothermal energy in urban areas. In addition, the soil must also be partially cultivated on one side (consequence: increasing grass invasion).

With the new product, we are remedying these shortcomings and offering a product with concrete added value compared to state-of-the-art technology. An innovative connection technology ensures simple, safe and cost-effective processing, installation, connection and product safety, enabling competitive prices. The objectives within the GeoCollector project were:

• Reduction of production time
• Establishment of series production
• Device for quality control
• Development of a packaging concept
• Web-based planning tool
• Contractual bidding of distribution partners within and outside Europe

Both the technical and the commercial objectives were largely achieved. The product was launched and established on the market in many European countries. International projects in Spain, Belgium and China prove this. In China in particular, plans are well advanced for the implementation of an initial pilot project with enormous growth potential. In concrete terms, the following progress was achieved within the framework of the project:

1) Market establishment of a technology to reduce the share of fossil fuels in heat generation. The GeoCollector GC3 can achieve energy savings of up to 70% compared to traditional heating and cooling systems (with oil or gas), thus reducing CO2 emissions in the heating sector. The targeted technical parameters (in particular heat extraction capacity) have been scientifically proven. With the new absorber modules, we get, as mentioned in the individual measurement series and reports, an approx. 30 % improved extraction performance with simultaneously reduced space requirements. Furthermore, ""peak energy requirements"" can be better processed by the GeoCollector system, which above all leads to faster regeneration of the absorber system in winter.
2) Increased competitiveness due to lower prices of the GeoCollector due to automated production. Through the use of fewer modules per KW extraction capacity, the installation costs (earthworks) in particular have demonstrably been reduced by approx. 20 %. The implemented structure of series production also enables standardized manufacturing quality and guaranteed longevity. Due to the increasing market presence and market penetration we get more and referral business.
3) The project has significantly improved the growth of current sales for both companies. A forecast sales growth of 60 % in 2019 for the Geothermal Near-Earth Surfaces division, related to 2018, shows the results of the national and international sales successes - also in connection with the strategic partner Viessmann acquired in the project."
Several activities were implemented in the second year of the project. These include:

• Implementation of packaging concept (technological)
• Demonstration - Production of series-ready GeoCollectors (technological)
• Demonstration - Proof of the targeted parameters for quality and productivity (technological)
• Continuation of the internationalization of GeoCollector with first projects outside Europe (commercial)
The added value for potential users of the GeoCollector consists of using an almost inexhaustible energy source for heating, hot water production and/or cooling at low cost and with little effort. In contrast to the majority of existing geothermal technologies, the absorber system uses geothermal energy, which is already available just below the earth's surface. In contrast to all other systems (state-of-the-art), only 1.50 m deep and 0.70 m wide trenches are sufficient for laying the GeoCollectors.

The GeoCollector system also significantly reduces land consumption, enabling the large-scale use of geothermal energy in heavily urbanised areas. In a modern single-family house, only 35 m2 of unsealed land is required for a 5 kW extraction rate. In contrast, competing systems such as surface collectors always require twice as much space as living space is to be heated. With a living area of 140 m² this corresponds to a collector area of approx. 280 m². As a result of the space required, the costs (especially installation costs) and the time required for laying the plastic pipes are considerably higher than with the GeoCollector system.

Due to the stable construction of the GeoCollectors, unlike other geothermal technologies, we can guarantee the full functionality of all buried system cables for 10 years.