Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

Illinois Groundwater Source Geothermal Resources

Presented by David Larson (ISGS), Xinli Lu (ISTC), and Thomas Holm (ISWS)

May 20, 2013

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We investigated the feasibility of heating and cooling with groundwater in two pilot study areas. One area was the American Bottoms, an urbanized area in the Mississippi River floodplain in Madison and St. Clair Counties. The other area is Mason County, a rural area in central Illinois. We characterized the hydrogeology of each area with respect to groundwater availability. Groundwater is plentiful in both areas (even overly abundant in the American Bottoms). We estimated the pumping rate needed to heat and cool a single family home based on heat pump performance, climatological data, and models of heating and cooling requirements. Based on the documented pumping rates at each studied area, we also estimated the overall heat pump heating and cooling potentials at American Bottoms (Madison and St. Clair Counties) and Mason County. The needed groundwater flow could easily be delivered by a typical well and pump system, even in the coldest and hottest parts of the year. We characterized groundwater quality with respect to heat exchanger fouling. Solubility calculations indicate calcium carbonate scale deposition is likely, so heat exchangers would need to be cleaned periodically.

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