University of Galway plans geothermal pilot project

Images courtesy of the University of Galway
The University of Galway has announced plans to use geothermal energy to heat the swimming pool in its sports centre as part of a research project into optimising heat-pump systems.

Eighteen boreholes lead to a network of pipes as part of a hybrid ground–air heat pump that will feed a district heating system.

The pilot is part of Geofit, an EU Horizon 2020 project set up to promote ground-source heat pump technologies. The university will work with Ireland’s geological survey and the iCRAG geosciences centre to collect data over five years using a fibre-optic temperature-sensing system.

Michael Curran, head of building services at the university, said: “This is not about just changing boilers with heat pumps – we will use this pilot as a teaching tool and a research laboratory.

“This is only a first step of a wider campus decarbonisation plan and an opportunity to monitor different performance data, leading to better decisions for large-scale heat pump applications.”

The campus is part of Galway’s decarbonisation zone which is targeting a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030, followed by the achievement of net zero in 2050.

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