In partnership with University of Melbourne and Geotech Engineering, Direct Energy have received a $1.6 million dollar grant funding from State Government Victoria as part of the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy. The three year Pilot Demonstration Project, EdDGE Victoria, aims to demonstrate, educate and facilitate accelerated application of Direct Geothermal Energy systems within the community.
The project will collect important data about the use of direct geothermal energy systems across varying usage and geological conditions within Victoria, to inform improved efficiency in installation practices and design. In-ground data will be collected from instruments placed in direct geothermal systems on around forty new and retrofit buildings constructed around the state.
This will deliver broader data collection and case studies for direct geothermal systems at an accelerated rate. The results will generate measurable local data that will form the basis of Australian Standards and inform further policy development, including incentives and rebates. The project will also engage and educate the broader community about direct geothermal energy and aid the delivery of more training for trades and professionals to drive industry growth over the next decade.
The Honourable Michael O’Brien, Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, announced the $1.6 million dollar Department of Primary Industries grant to fund research in April 2012. Mr O’Brien said that geothermal energy has the potential to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“As a clean, renewable source of energy, direct geothermal has the potential to play an important role in the energy mix of Victoria’s future” he said.
Direct geothermal heating and cooling systems has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reduce cost of heating and cooling by up to 75% or more. DIrect geothermal uses the shallow ground, down to several tens of metres below the surface, to extract the heat in winter for heating and to displace the heat in summer for cooling.
Direct geothermal systems circulate water through closed-loop pipes that are installed within building foundations or in purpose-drilled holes direct into the earth. A heat pump circulates fluid through the pipes, extracting heat from the ground in Winter to achieve the desired air temperature within a building. In summer, the heat pump works in reverse, extracting heat out of the building and into the circulating fluid, which is then deposited underground.
A direct geothermal system does not generate or replace the need for electricity; the shallow earth temperature being fairly constant (e.g. 18 degrees) acts as a more efficient temperature exchange, reducing the energy consumption needed for climate control. Direct geothermal is an electricity-saving technology, with the potential to greatly reduce our carbon footprint and peak demand.