Melbourne study shows feasibility of geothermal heating and cooling
A pilot project headed by the University of Melbourne can serve as a proof of concept for large-scale geothermal heating and cooling in Australia.
A trial project headed by the University of Melbourne at the Metro Tunnel station in Melbourne, Australia, will serve as a “practice run” for the installation of large-scale geothermal heating and cooling systems both in Australia and overseas. The trial showed that geothermal energy can supply the heating and cooling needs of a train station such as State Library, and even that of surrounding buildings.
The four-year project was led by a team from the Faculty of Engineering and IT of the University of Melbourne in collaboration with Rail Projects Victoria and construction contractors John Holland Cross Yarra Partnership. It involved installing plastic pipes to 40 meters depth along with geothermal heat pumps and associated technology.
The trial project was one of the most comprehensively monitored geostructures in the world. With an array of sensors, the researchers tested different scenarios to determine the most energy-efficient use of the system. Although this level of instrumentation is not required for a normal commercial system, it was invaluable for the pilot project.
The project is a finalist in the 2022 Premiers’ Sustainability Awards, an awards event by the Government of Victoria that celebrates and recognizes people and projects that are working towards a more sustainable future.
The University of Melbourne had previously been tapped by the Geological Survey of Victoria and the Latrobe Valley Authority to participate in a geothermal mapping of the region of Victoria, Australia.
Source: University of Melbourne