MSE Research Project Database

Detailed 3D computer simulation of direct geothermal ground heat exchangers

Project Leader: Guillermo Narsilio
Staff: Ian Johnston, Lu Aye
Student: Asal Bidarmaghz
Primary Contact: Guillermo Narsilio (
Keywords: energy efficiency; geotechnical engineering; numerical modelling; renewable energy; sustainable cities
Disciplines: Infrastructure Engineering
Domains: Optimisation of resources and infrastructure

The rigorous design of a direct geothermal heat pump system that uses concrete piles, boreholes or trenches as heat exchangers to extract or reject heat in the ground, needs a model for the thermal process occuring in the ground, the ground heat exchanger (GHE) and the carrier fluid circulating within. Thermal interference between pipes in the GHE is an important factor which may significantly affect the system’s efficiency, as well as interference between GHE. These can be modelled using finite element methods.


Further information:

Isothermal contours (in Kelvin) around a vertical GHE.
Finite element mesh for modelling a vertical GHE embedded in the ground.