To preface, it is all about cost. Whether you have been recently introduced to the Geothermal industry, or are an expert on the subject, the one element that all will agree upon is that geothermal systems have a greater up-front cost in comparison to a conventional system. Specifically; the well-field, the footprint requirements of the well-field, and all the leg work that comes with installing the multiple heat exchangers. If simply comparing the mechanical aspects of a geothermal system versus the mechanics of a conventional system, it would undoubtedly be an even playing field. But due to the additional investment of the geothermal well-field, many unfortunately, look at the short term rather than the long-term implications of this innovative technology. The geothermal well-field requirement has unanimously been the predominant deterrent for geothermal system applications to truly flourish as a viable option.
The Gi4™ is a revolutionary engineered heat exchanger designed to improve the performance of vertical geothermal well fields. Engineered by a group of geothermal industry leaders, the Gi4™ is designed to maximize heat exchange with the formation and minimize the thermal pollution between the fluid supply and return ports.
The thermal resistance is significantly lower than any other vertical heat exchanger available. CFD modeling by the University of Tennessee reveals that the Gi4 design optimizes heat transfer performance, which occurs by conduction into the formation through the surrounding grout and pipe walls by convective heat transfer with the conduit fluid. The design includes improved thermal performance of the material, grout thickness and most significantly maximizing the surface area over which convective heat transfer can occur.
The Gi4™ was scientifically designed through the collaborative efforts between a group of geothermal industry leaders and Tennessee University. The patented Gi4™ heat exchange design encompasses kidney shaped lobes to create a greater circumference providing greater thermal conductivity, i.e. the exchange of heat. The Gi4's™ dynamic and intuitive design also offers a pressurized up-flow of water, which will decrease electrical costs specific to the pumping requirements of the heat exchanger. Due to the increased design efficiency, the Gi4™ will not only reduce the costly geothermal well-field installation figure by 20%-40%, it will also greatly decrease the geothermal well-field size by over 60% in comparison to the industry standard U-Bend heat exchanger.
This is where the Gi4™ advanced ground heat exchanger stands apart from the competition. We solely focused our efforts on finding a way to deter the upfront costs of a geothermal well-field. The focus was evident; engineer a more efficient, more conductive heat exchanger through a dynamic and highly innovative design. A more efficient heat exchanger will allow less boreholes, and a more conductive heat exchanger will also promote less boreholes. This ultimately will allow projects that considered geothermal technologies, but were unable to consider the technology due to footprint of the well-field, a viable option. The Gi4™ heat exchanger will also allow a competitive advantage over a conventional standard system and a conventional geothermal system.