Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
  • Publication
    Interpretation of In Situ and Laboratory Thermal Measurements Resulting in Accurate Thermogeological Characterisation
    (Taylor & Francis, 2012-09) ;
    Growing worldwide interest in the exploitation of geothermal energy resources has led to a scenario where the technology routinely forms part of building-scale renewable energy feasibility studies. A thorough understanding of site-specific thermogeological parameters is a vital design requirement of such systems and accurate measurement and interpretation of these parameters is necessary in order to inform scientifically rigorous system design. An overview of the theory underlying a number of laboratory and in situ thermal characterization testing methods and the results from a number of testing regimes carried out using the various thermal characterization equipment constructed in University College Dublin are presented. Results from both the laboratory steady-state and non-steady-state thermal analysis systems and the in situ thermal characterization system are shown to provide accurate measurements of soil and rock thermal parameters. In addition, the settlement profiles of a number of the tested materials were investigated in order to gain an in-sight into this potential drawback of exchanging the backfill material placed around electricity cables to optimize thermal transfer efficiency.
      611
  • Publication
    Numerical and finite element analysis of heat transfer in a closed loop geothermal system
    (Taylor & Francis, 2013-08) ;
    Analysis of the thermal regime created by a geothermal borehole heat exchanger is performed using a closed form radial heat flow equation, a geothermal borehole heat exchanger design tool and a finite element model. Climatic, heat exchanger construction and building load data are entered into the heat exchanger design tool in order to create a theoretical model along with thermal parameters from a number of geological formations. Output data from the design tool model are used in conjunction with the closed form radial heat flow equation to calculate the predicted temperature with respect to time and distance from the heat exchanger for the modelled ground formations. The output data from the design tool is also used to create a number of finite element method models against which the predictions calculated using the closed form radial heat flow equation can be compared. A good correlation between the temperatures predicted by the finite element models and the closed form equation calculations is observed. However when used within its recommended limiting conditions, the closed form equation is shown to slightly underestimate the temperature of the ground when compared to the finite element model predictions. The limiting conditions associated with the closed form equation are discussed in the context of the output from the finite element method models.
      1191
  • Publication
    Geothermal energy in small countries - laying the foundations for innovative development
    (World Federation of Engineering Organizations, 2011-09-04) ;
    Creation of an environment in which shallow geothermal energy can thrive will require a coherent approach and a high level of collaboration with professionals from countries that have developed technical expertise in the area. Implementation of regulations, standards and guidelines adapted from best practice in countries such as Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, in addition to understanding the mistakes and successes made by these countries, with respect to the development of their geothermal industries, will help small countries such as Ireland to develop a well-regulated market for the technology. This paper outlines and addresses some of the technical, regulatory and certification issues faced particularly by small countries in their efforts to develop a shallow geothermal energy industry, provides examples of best practice with regard to development in countries with established geothermal energy industries and presents proposed solutions to these issues / barriers using the existing situation in Ireland by way of example.
      832
  • Publication
    Monitoring environmental parameters in poultry production facilities
    (Institute for Process and Particle Engineering, Graz University of Technology, Austria, 2013-04) ; ; ;
    Increases in fuel and feed prices are placing a significant burden on the poultry industry in Ireland and worldwide. For producers to meet their financial targets, increased performance and output is a key issue, now more than ever. To optimise performance in broiler production houses, the effect of environmental and air quality parameters on bird performance and energy consumption must be known to allow farmers make informed management decisions. This paper concentrates on the application precision livestock farming sensors to develop recommendations for improved bird performance and energy consumption in broiler production farms in Ireland.   Air temperature, relative humidity, light, air speed and air quality (in particular CO2 and NH3 concentrations) are identified as important parameters for improving bird performance and energy consumption in broiler production houses. Several of these parameters (temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and NH3) were monitored on two farms during the study over the initial 2 weeks of the production cycle. Air quality was often overlooked during the production process, as farmers struggled to limit high heating and feed costs. However, elevated levels of CO2 (>3000 ppm) did not appear to affect broiler growth rates. Additionally, a strong correlation was observed between relative humidity and NH3 (R2 = 0.86 - 0.92). Producers tend to use relative humidity as an indication for NH3 levels and the research shown in this study confirms the close relationship between the two parameters. It is recommended that further data should be gathered from producing units and novel performance technologies should also be investigated.
      5756
  • Publication
    Energy Foundations - Potential for Ireland
    (American Society of Civil Engineers, 2011-03) ;
    With one of the highest energy dependencies in the European Union, Ireland must adapt quickly to renewable energy technologies or risk paying the penalty in the form of high energy prices in years to come. Escalating energy costs have led to a renewed interest in alternative energy technologies and ground source energy is one such resource which is being increasingly considered. This paper presents some of the practical considerations of energy foundations, evidenced from the installation of a number of test energy piles. In addition, a preliminary feasibility study of an energy foundation system for a planned university administrative building and an overview of the current status of ground source energy technology in Ireland are presented. Building heating and cooling loads are estimated based on high building energy standards which the university hopes to implement in all building projects going forward. The proposed energy foundation system is shown to have the capacity to provide the heating and cooling base loads for the building
      1485Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Energy piles: site investigation and analysis
    (Thomas Telford Ltd., 2013-09-05) ;
    Despite an increasing worldwide use of geothermal energy foundations, there is a lack of published guidelines and results from thermal response testing of such installations. In this paper the results are presented from thermal response, thermal recovery and laboratory thermal testing performed at two sites in Ireland. Some practical issues concerned with the use of thermal response testing rigs, designed for use with deep boreholes, on relatively short piles are discussed and addressed. Given the relatively short geothermally active depth of the energy foundations tested, and the fact that the University College Dublin thermal response testing rig has been designed primarily for testing on medium and deep geothermal boreholes, thermal response tests of shorter durations than are normally used for deep boreholes were performed. The techniques used to analyse the various test results are outlined, and the resulting values of thermal conductivity obtained are within the range of those expected for the prevailing geology of the sites.
      1334Scopus© Citations 17
  • Publication
    Analysis of bed agglomeration during gasification of wheat straw in a bubbling fluidised bed gasifier using mullite as bed material
    The quantity and composition of the ash content of straw poses technical challenges to its thermal conversion and have been widely reported to cause severe ash sintering and bed agglomeration during fluidised bed gasification. Literature indicates that a combination of reactor design and bed material measures is required to avoid defluidisation at temperatures above 800 °C. Using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy this study investigated the initial agglomeration of a mullite bed during the gasification of wheat straw in a small scale, air blown bubbling fluidised bed. The results show that the temperatures along the height of the bed converge prior to any marked drop in pressure or heating of the lower freeboard. This convergence was seen to occur at temperatures close to 750 °C in repeated gasification experiments. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy indicates coating-induced agglomeration caused by the reaction of alkali metals with silica. Scanning electron microscopy under high magnification revealed a layered structure to the agglomerates, where ash particles are subsumed into a fused material. This suggests the formation of agglomerates by the three step agglomeration process postulated by other authors. Analysis of indices used to predict agglomeration on the basis of a fuel's ash content and composition indicates that the Alkali Index is the most accurate, successfully predicting agglomeration for 7 of the 9 fuels where agglomeration was observed.
      1014Scopus© Citations 30
  • Publication
    Bubbling fluidised bed gasification of wheat straw-gasifier performance using mullite as bed material
    The adoption of wheat straw as a fuel for gasification processes has been hindered due to a lack of experience and its propensity to cause bed agglomeration in fluidised bed gasifiers. In this study wheat straw was gasified in a small scale, air blown bubbling fluidised bed using mullite as bed material. The gasifier was successfully operated and isothermal bed conditions maintained at temperatures up to 750 ◦C. Below this temperature, the gasifier was operated at equivalence ratios from 0.1 to 0.26. The maximum lower heating value of the producer gas was approximately 3.6 MJm−3 at standard temperature and pressure (STP) conditions and was obtained at an equivalence ratio of 0.165. In general, a producer gas with a lower heating value of approximately 3 MJm−3 at STP could be obtained across the entire range of equivalence ratios operated. The lower heating value tended to fluctuate, however, and it was considered more appropriate for use in heat applications than as a fuel for internal combustion engines. The concentration of combustibles in the producer gas was lower than that obtained from the gasification of wheat straw in a dual distributor type gasifier and a circulating fluidised bed. These differences were associated with reactor design and, in the case of the circulating fluidised bed, with higher temperatures. Equilibrium modelling at adiabatic conditions, which provides the maximum performance of the system, showed that the gasifier was operating at suboptimal equivalence ratios to achieve greatest efficiencies. The maximum calculated theoretical cold gas efficiency of 73% was obtained at an equivalence ratio of 0.35.
      1024Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    A preliminary study of the effect of groundwater flow on the thermal front created by borehole heat exchangers
    This paper presents an analysis performed using a coupled TEMP/W-SEEP/W finite element model to consider both the conducive and convective effects of groundwater flow on the thermal regime created by a ground source energy system. The change in the development of the sub-surface thermal regime created by ground source energy borehole heat exchangers caused by a groundwater flow across a site, relative to a scenario where groundwater flow does not exist is examined. Analysis is performed using finite element formulations of both single borehole and multi borehole systems. The results of this work show that even a modest groundwater flow across a site can lead to a significant change in the development of the sub-surface thermal regime. It also shows that groundwater flow can result in implications for: proposed developments incorporating ground source energy systems; nearby existing ground source energy systems; potential future nearby ground source energy systems and the use of established software packages currently used for the design of ground source energy systems in the industry.
      453Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    Design and development of a low-cost thermal response rig
    (Institution of Civil Engineers, 2012-08-01) ;
    A thermal response test (TRT) is a controlled insitu test during which a known quantity of heat energy is injected into a closed loop heat-exchanger pipe while the heat dissipation rate into the surrounding ground is monitored. Results from a test can be interpreted to determine a number of ground thermal parameters with are vital design requirements for any medium to large scale ground source energy system. This paper describes the design and construction of a low cost TRT rig and compares the results obtained from a test using the constructed rig and a commercially built rig in order to evaluate the accuracy of the constructed equipment. The TRT rig is designed in accordance with the following principles: keep construction costs low, improve the cost-efficiency of TRT testing by incorporating remote data transmission capability and ensure attainment of sufficient accuracy to satisfy the design requirements of ground source energy systems. Analysis of data collected by the TRT rigs result in a calculated thermal conductivity of 1.9 W/mK in both cases. This value falls within the range expected for the tested geological formation and confirms the accuracy of both test rigs.
      2074Scopus© Citations 5