Analysis & Tools to Spur Increased Deployment of “ Waste Heat” Rejection/Recycling Hybrid GHP Systems in Hot, Arid or Semiarid Climates Like Texas Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Analysis & Tools to Spur Increased Deployment of “ Waste Heat” Rejection/Recycling Hybrid GHP Systems in Hot, Arid or Semiarid Climates Like Texas
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act – Geothermal Technologies Program: Ground Source Heat Pumps
Project Type / Topic 2 Topic Area 2: Data Gathering and Analysis

Project Description As GHP systems offer substantial energy efficiency by leveraging earth’s intrinsic thermal capacitance, they could play a pivotal role in achieving the DoE’s Building Technologies Pro-gram’s “zero energy” goal in heavily cooling-dominated climates. Moreover, SHR–augmented GHP systems, in particular, could play a vital role in reducing building energy consumption and limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in heavily cooling dominated states, like Texas, which are experiencing large increases in population and correspondingly, peak electricity demand. If only 0.1% of Texas,’ Arizona’s, New Mexico’s and Nevada’s nearly 15 million—or 15,000—homes were to install new (or convert their existing HVAC or heat pump system to) a full or hybrid GHP system, it would result in between $400 and $800 million USD of new economic activity, most of which would be domestic. Moreover, these 15,000 homes would cut their annual energy consumption—and concomitant GHG emissions—by roughly 40–70%; on average they would save about $1,000 USD in annual operating costs, collectively saving about $15 million USD annually. A conservative GHP industry estimate is that at least 900 people would be directly employed for every 10,000 GHP units installed.

This project includes collaboration between UT Austin and the CTGHPSC, a broad industry–public service–entrepreneur coalition interested in advancing GHP system use in Texas and similarly challenged regions throughout the Nation. Austin Energy, the Nation’s 9th largest community-owned electric utility that has created the Nation’s top performing renewable energy program, and ClimateMaster, a leading manufacturer of geothermal heat pumps, are the principal industrial participants.

State Texas
Objectives This project’s principal objective is the development of the analysis, modeling and decision–support tools to enable the selection, design and specification of supplementary heat rejection (SHR) systems/devices that, when added to conventional ground–source or ground–coupled heat pump (GHP) systems, make the resulting hybrid GHP system technically and economically viable in hot, arid or semiarid climates typical of the southwestern and western United States.
Awardees (Company / Institution) University of Texas at Austin

Awardee Website
Partner 1 Central Texas GHP Systems Consortium (CTGHPSC)
Partner 2 Austin Energy
Partner 3 ClimateMaster

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000116

DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $250,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $63,200.00
Total Project Cost $313,200.00

Principal Investigator(s) Glenn Y. Masada, Sc.D., P.E., University of Texas at Austin
Other Principal Investigators Paul Ballentine, Ph.D., P.E., Solennium, Austin, TX

Targets / Milestones The expected outcomes are a set of tools that provide engineering guidance to enable lowest life-cycle-cost GHP infrastructure for the various building types, sizes and usages depending upon their existing HVAC systems (if applicable), local climate and building site characteristics. These include climate–, building– and site–specific: (1) modeling and analysis of “waste heat” that auxiliary SHR systems must reject/recycle; (2) modeling and analysis of the overall SHR–augmented GHP system performance and efficiency; (3) modeling and analysis of overall life–cycle costs, including installation and maintenance costs; and (4) development of web–based decision–support tools that provide guidance regarding which SHR–augmented GHP systems offer the best performance at the lowest life–cycle cost for a given application.

Location of Project Austin, TX

Impacts Improve GHP loop design and sizing, potential to improve GHP reliability and performance with lower cost in hot/arid regions of the country.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs