Geothermal Solutions for Heating and Cooling

Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Despite this geothermal solutions for heating and cooling have been limited to areas near tectonic plate boundaries historically. Recent technological advances have dramatically expanded the range and size of viable resources, especially for applications such as home heating This has opened a potential for widespread exploitation. Geothermal wells release greenhouse gases trapped deep within the earth, but these emissions are much lower per energy unit than those of fossil fuels. As a result, geothermal power has the potential to help mitigate global warming if widely deployed in place of fossil fuels.

Mineral Service Plus, LLC is a licensed and bonded full service provider of renewable and alternative energy solutions for heating and cooling your residence, commercial or industrial properties. We provide expertise and offer client-specific solutions that promote high efficiency, reduced use of fossil fuels and heating and cooling comfort. We are experts in unique projects and every project is unique.

vertical closed loop geothermal system
horizontal closed loop geothermal system

Closed-Loop Geothermal Systems (Horizontal and Vertical)

Closed-loop geothermal systems usually circulate a heat-transfer fluid, typically a food-grade antifreeze, through pipes or coils buried beneath the land surface. During the winter, the fluid collects heat from the earth wmf during summer, the systems cools the building by pulling heat from the building, carrying it through the system, and leaving it in the ground.

The closed-loop geothermal systems can be installed horizontally or vertically beneath the land surface, or in the bed of a body of water. Horizontal geothermal systems require more land (enough to dig a 100 to 300-foot trench), but a vertical system requires numerous well holes drilled deep enough vertically to accommodate the geothermal loops or plates.

Pond Loop Geothermal Systems

If your home or commercial building is near a body of water, such as a pond or a lake, this type of geothermal loop design may be the most economical. The fluid circulates through polyethylene piping in a closed system, just as it does with a in the ground loop, but typically, workers run the pipe to the water, then submerge long sections under water.

Geothermal heating and cooling experts recommend using a pond loop only if the water level never drops below six to eight feet at its lowest to assure sufficient heat-transfer capability.

Pond loops used in a closed system result in no adverse impacts on the aquatic system.

geothermal pond loop system
geothermal open loop system

Open-Loop Geothermal Systems

Open-loop geothermal systems operate on the same principle as closed-loop systems, but typically use ground water as the heat-exchange fluid. After it circulates through the system, the water is discharged over land or directly into lakes, wetlands, streams or ditches. By reducing the burning of fossil fuels, an open-loop system seems environmentally friendly, but it is considered a wasteful use of ground water. Ground water usually is our source of drinking water and the supply for our household needs.

Potential Concerns with Open-Loop Geothermal Systems

Ground water typically is run through the open-loop system once and then discharged to a field, lake, stream or ditch. The discharged water will be a higher or lower temperature, depending on the season, than the ground-water source and the surface water to which it may be discharged. Environment concerns resulting from open-loop systems include the following:

  • Ground water used in an open loop system may be needed for higher priority uses
  • The risk of contamination
  • Can impact surface-water quality, plants, fish, winter oxygen levels, and the integrity of the ice surface during winter (a safety issue)

Permit Requirements

The Department of Natural Resources requires a water appropriation permit if the total water use from a supply well, including the geothermal system and other uses, is more than 10,000 gallons per day or more than 1 million gallons per year. For open loop systems the discharge of water may require a permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and possibly from a local government unit.