Geoquip Water Solutions

The Italian Job

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Open loop systems abstract groundwater from one or more boreholes. Heat is either extracted or added by the primary refrigerant loop, and the water is returned to a separate well or body of water. The supply and return lines need to be placed far enough apart to ensure thermal recharge of the source. The key issues for open loop systems relate to borehole yields, licensing and, most importantly, flow rates. A number of factors can affect flow rates and one that could be easily managed, and yet is becoming an increasing problem, is iron oxide residues. Whether caused by naturally occurring bacteria or straight chemical means, it is estimated to affect about 40% of the world’s water bores, and anecdotal evidence indicates that this number is steadily increasing.

These residues result in an oxide and bio-film that builds up in pumps and headworks and this is particularly significant for a geothermal heating plant. Any blockages or restrictions within the pipe work and distribution system will severely reduce the flow section of the system and increase the friction losses, causing inefficiency, and wasted energy, increased operating costs and compromise the original reason for opting for geothermal energy.

This case study considers the ongoing maintenance of an air conditioning system servicing a 150,000m2 retail/industrial complex in Milan consisting of numerous offices, multiple car showrooms, mechanical workshops, training facilities and warehouses.

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