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Schler

Fundamentals - Heat Transfer

Department of Physics, University of Siegen

D-57068 Siegen, Germany

Phone: +49-271-740-4181, Fax: +49-271-740-2379

Earth heat exchangers are advantageous features to air pipes for a given flow rate?

reduce energy consumption in residential buildings. In What is the optimum depth and distance of several

winter they pre-heat ventilation air with minimal pipes for the layout of an earth heat exchanger?

operation costs - necessary for low energy architecture Which further effort is needed to condition pre-

-, in summer they help to prevent passive houses with heated or pre-cooled air according to comfort

relevant solar gains from overheating by pre-cooling standards required inside buildings?

ventilation air.

The goal of GAEA (Graphische Auslegung von 2 THEORY OF EARTH HEAT

ErdwrmeAustauschern, German for Graphical Design EXCHANGERS

of Earth Heat Exchangers) is to provide an easily The principal process taking place in an earth heat

usable calculation tool for to match earth heat exchanger is that ambient air flows through a system of

exchangers and buildings. This may work well as a pipes which is buried in the ground. The air exchanges

stand-alone tool but is also projected to be part of heat through the pipe walls with the surrounding earth.

detailed building simulations to evaluate the potential At the outlet of the pipe system the air enters the

of earth heat exchangers within the whole heating and ventilation system of a building and is usually

ventilation system of houses. conditioned for heating or cooling. The underlying

theory therefore comprises mainly heat flow

KEY WORDS: earth heat exchanger, low energy mechanisms and fluid dynamics.

architecture, passive solar architecture, building The authors designed GAEA according to well

simulation known models of heat and mass transfer [3, 4, 5, 6]. An

analytical model is used to determine the temperatures

1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF along one pipe constituting the earth heat exchanger.

GAEA The calculations are based on approximations for the

For many years earth heat exchangers have been earth temperature which varies with the time of the

acknowledged to be useful tools for the climatization year and depth under surface. Heat transfer coefficients

of buildings, both to decrease energy consumption and for the heat flow between air, pipe wall and earth are

increase building comfort. For low energy houses in estimated from material coefficients, flow properties

particular the fraction of heating demand or cooling and geometric parameters. The following restrictions

load that can be avoided by earth heat exchangers is are made for the current version of the program:

considerably large. Methods to adjust earth heat Homogenous earth is situated above and around the

exchangers for individual projects are still lacking. earth heat exchanger, ground properties are

Similar to previously developed products at the constant;

Software Laboratory for Low Energy and Solar When calculating more than one pipe (e.g. parallel

Architecture [1, 2] GAEA relies on a graphical user pipes in an earth heat exchanger) interference

interface. All input values are preset to default values between different pipes is (preliminarily) assumed

and may be edited by means of scroll bars. When one to be negligible.

input is edited the result of this change is immediately

visible in the presented output figures. Hereby a quick 2.1 Earth temperature

understanding of many questions may be obtained. Earth temperature at the wall of the pipe depends firstly

Some topics of investigation may be: on the heat transfer from earth surface to deeper layers.

How do earth heat exchangers affect a building's Secondly when the earth heat exchanger is used the air

energy demand?

*

Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

in the pipe itself influences the earth temperature at the surface and on thermal properties of the earth above

pipe wall. the pipe as follows:

A parameter U* is defined to measure the ratio of

both effects taking into account thermal conductivity of c

the earth, heat transfer coefficient between the airflow = S0 (3)

t0

and the earth at the pipe wall as well as the geometric

configuration [7]1 :

with:

1 c = volumetric heat capacity of ground in J/(m K)

U* = 2 (1)

UL S

S 2 Typical values for ground properties may be extracted

ln R0 + R0 1

0 0

from literature [5, 8, 9].

Whereas v. Cube [5] introduces a correction factor

with: to represent the influence of the pipe on the earth

U* = conductance ratio of heat transfer from earth temperature Albers [7] separates the stationary and

surface to pipe and from airflow to pipe wall instationary terms of equation (2) and compares the

heat flow from the earth surface to the pipe with the

= thermal conductivity of ground in W/(m K)

heat flow through the pipe wall. He then finds the

UL = heat transfer coefficient per length of wall of

pipe between bulk air and wall in W/(m K) corrected earth temperature at the wall of the pipe E,W

S0 = depth of pipe center under surface in m to be:

R0 = radius of pipe in m

U* E,0 + A,P

(R0 is assumed to be small compared to S0) E, W = (4)

U* +1

The earth temperature at the wall of the pipe not

influenced by the pipe E,0 is calculated from the with:

ambient air temperature with its mean value m and its E,W = earth temperature at the wall of the pipe in C

maximum value max, assuming a sinusoidal tem- A,P = air temperature inside the pipe in C

perature variation throughout the year. A parameter

describes the "thermal depth" of the pipe. Heat flows This means that E,W is the weighted arithmetic mean

from air to earth surface without resistance [5]. The between the airflow temperature inside the pipe A,P

result is: and the earth temperature at the wall of the pipe not

influenced by the pipe E,0 with the thermal

E,0 ( t) = m + ( max m ) e cos 2 tt (2)

conductances from earth surface to pipe and from

0 airflow to pipe wall as weighting factors.

E,0 = earth temperature at the wall of the pipe not The ambient air temperature A,0 determines the inlet

influenced by pipe in C temperature for the earth heat exchanger, it indirectly

m = annual mean value of ambient air temperature also relates to the earth temperature (see equation (2)).

in C A sinusoidal temperature profile throughout the year is

max = annual maximum value of ambient air assumed which provides sufficient accuracy for the

temperature in C purpose of the program [5, 7]:

= dimensionless parameter for "thermal depth"

of pipe

A,0 ( t) = m + ( max m ) cos 2 tt

t = time in s (5)

0

t0 = duration of year in s (1 a 31.5 x 106 s)

t/t0 = fraction of year (with t/t0 equal zero for with:

maximum ambient air temperature) A,0 (t) = ambient air temperature in C at time t in s

The "thermal depth" in which the earth heat 2.3 Heat transfer in the earth heat exchanger

exchanger is situated depends on the real depth under

For to calculate the heat exchange in the pipe the total

length of the heat exchanger is divided into 100

segments which are treated step by step. Each segment

is supposed to carry air of constant temperature so that

1

heat exchange in the segment leads to a jump in

The parameter U* is also used to describe altered heat

flow characteristics caused by nearby building

structures or ground water.

temperature at the border between two segments. The temperature step by step, i.e. segment for segment, the

heat exchange for each segment is: air temperature is adjusted according to the heat flow in

the segment and the heat capacity of the air.

Q (

W = z UL E,W A,P ) (6)

3 DIMENSIONING OF AN EARTH HEAT

with: EXCHANGER WITH GAEA

Q = heat flow from earth through wall of pipe to Albers [7] presents an experimental earth heat

W

validation and verification of the program the authors

z = length of segment in m

entered the obtainable data into GAEA and compared

the calculated results with measured values of

The heat transfer coefficient per length of wall of pipe

temperatures and energy flows. Further evaluation is

UL for pipes typically used with earth heat exchangers

planned within the project NESA of the AG Solar

depends only on the heat transfer coefficient hi at its

NRW which investigates low energy and solar

inner surface:

architecture and includes buildings with earth heat

UL = 2 R 0 hi (7) exchangers under operation [11].

with:

hi = heat transfer coefficient at the inner surface of The investigated earth heat exchanger system assists an

pipe in W/(m K) undivided family house for heating in winter and

cooling in summer. A single pipe winds around the

The heat transfer coefficient at the inner surface of the foundation of the house to whose ventilation system it

pipe hi depends on flow properties, dimensions of the connects. The pipe extends to the length of 42 m, its

pipe and material properties of the air in the pipe [10]: inner diameter is 125 mm. The pipe is embedded in the

ground in a depth of between 0.7 m and 1.8 m. To

A,P Nu enable drainage of condensate the pipe has a slope of

hi = (8) 2 % from air inlet to outlet.

2 R0 The house is heated with a heat pump. The earth

heat exchanger is operated in winter to preheat the

with: ventilation air and in summer to lower the ventilation

A,P = thermal conductivity of air in pipe in W/(m K) temperature. For moderate outside temperatures the

Nu = Nusselt number of air in pipe ventilation system is switched to directly suck in air

from an inlet located above the roof of the building.

The Nusselt number Nu of air in a pipe depends on For the system given hereby several calculations

Reynolds number Re and thus on flow rate. For are performed within GAEA. Weather data are

turbulent airflow in the temperature region relevant for available as 20-year-averages from the weather station

earth heat exchangers Gnielinski [4] proposes the Stuttgart-Hohenheim lying close to the house [7].

following approximation:

3.2 Calculated results

(

Nu = 0,0214 Re

0,8

)

100 Pr

0,4

(9) Figure 1 shows the temperature at the outlet of the

earth heat exchanger for an air flow of 140 m per hour.

The amplitude is damped and shifted compared to the

with:

outside air temperature as expected. Figure 2 gives the

Re = Reynolds number of air in pipe

local temperatures along the pipe for a warm summer

Pr = Prandtl number of air (typically: Pr = 0,72)

day as calculated by GAEA. The program is also

capable of specifying the heat flow for every segment

2.4 Air temperature in the pipe

of the pipe for a particular day (Fig. 3) as well as

Now the air temperature throughout the total length of summing the total heat exchange in the system

the earth heat exchanger can be calculated. Beginning throughout the year (Fig. 4).

with an inlet temperature equal to the ambient air

Air temperature before and after earth heat exchanger

20

15

Ambient air

Temperature [C]

10

Outlet air

0

0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360

-5

Figure 1: Ambient air temperature and temperature at the outlet of the earth heat exchanger throughout the year

(calculated by GAEA)

20

19

18

Temperature [C]

15

14

13

Earth temperature not influenced by pipe

12

11

10

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45

Figure 2: Temperatures along the pipe of the earth heat exchanger for a warm summer day (calculated by GAEA)

20

18

16

14

Heat flow [W/m]

12

10

0

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45

Figure 3: Heat flow along the pipe of the earth heat exchanger for a winter day (calculated by GAEA)

Heat exchange throughout the year

2

0

0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360

-2

-4

-6

Figure 4: Heat exchange in the earth heat exchanger throughout the year (calculated by GAEA)

system is therefore switched to circumvent the earth

3.3 Heat gain during winter - cooling in summer heat exchanger. Heating or cooling of air inside the

The integration of the heat exchange over time gives an pipe calculated by GAEA must then not be taken into

estimate of the possibilities of the investigated heat account for the total heat balance.

exchanger system. In the described case GAEA predicts Both corrections are to be considered when GAEA

a heat gain in winter and a cooling effect in summer of forms part of a detailed building simulation. Actual

about 600 kWh in each case. weather conditions may be used as input for the

The actually achievable energy flows may vary program. The calculation of heating demand according

according to the following influences. Firstly the to e.g. EN 832 [12] allows to calculate a utilization

ambient air temperature distribution is not as smooth as factor for the output of the earth heat exchanger to

the approximated sinusoidal curve used for the better characterize its performance.

calculations. Therefore the usable energy flow tends to

be higher since bigger temperature differences and 3.4 Comparison with experimental results

hence bigger heating or cooling demands are correlated Figure 5 shows the air temperature in the segments of

with higher energy flows in the earth heat exchanger. the investigated earth heat exchanger for a warm

On the other hand especially during transition time the summer day as measured by Albers [7] and calculated

ambient air sometimes leads to a better room comfort by GAEA.

then the air from the earth heat exchanger does. The

Calculated and measured air temperature along the earth heat exchanger

26

24

Temperature [C]

20

18

14

12

(Calculated earth temperature not influenced by pipe)

10

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45

Figure 5: Comparison of measured and calculated air temperatures for a warm summer day along the earth heat

exchanger

The parameters for the model were chosen as to more accurate when coupled to a building simulation

represent the real weather conditions at the time of program where more detailed temperature profiles and

measurement, e.g. ambient air temperature was 25.3 C a realistic control strategy can be considered.

and earth temperature at the depth of the pipe but not

influenced by the pipe was 12.8 C. 4 OPTIMIZATION OF AN EARTH HEAT

The main input values for the program GAEA are EXCHANGER WITH GAEA

chosen according to the data provided by Albers [7]:

A main application of GAEA has to be the optimization

annual mean value of ambient air temperature

of devices during the planning of buildings. Interesting

m = 8.5 C

parameters during the optimization process are the

annual maximum value of ambient air temperature

layout of pipes and the length and cross-section of

max = 26 C

pipes constituting the device.

density of ground = 1600 kg/m

One crucial point for an earth heat exchanger to

heat capacity of ground c = 1300 J/(kg K)

operate satisfactorily is that only with turbulent airflow

thermal conductivity of ground = 1.5 W/(m K) relevant heat exchange will take place. Figure 6 shows

the correlation between the number of pipes and the

The discrepancy of the temperatures may be explained diameter of each pipe for a system with an airflow of

largely by inhomogenous earth properties above the 140 m/h (as in the layout calculated before) for the

real pipe whereas the model assumes fixed values. In a Reynolds number set to 2300, i.e. airflow is just

refined version of GAEA it is planned to allow for starting to become turbulent.

different depths for each segment of the pipe. Figure 7 shows the achievable heat gains of

With the model described above GAEA estimates a different layouts for an earth heat exchanger with a

heat gain during winter and a cooling energy during total air flow of 500 m/h. The diameter of the pipes is

summer of about 600 kWh in each case for the chosen to ensure turbulent air flow at 140 m/h

investigated earth heat exchanger. In the real world according to figure 6. It can be seen that for this system

control strategies have an immense effect on the a clear improvement in performance is reachable for

performance of the system. For the investigated house the number of pipes to be two or three instead of one,

Albers measured a heat gain of 923 kWh during winter, but for more pipes no significant improvement is

of which 127 kWh stem from the ventilator needed to gained. Thinking of the costs for laying pipes [5] a

propel the air. In summer a cooling energy of 421 kWh probable compromise would be to use two pipes but

was measured, here the ventilator produced waste heat not more. A refined version of the program GAEA will

of 36 kWh [7]. As Albers notes and as mentioned suggest a sensible solution for the number of pipes, its

above monthly averages do not suffice for detailed lengths and cross-sections according to given

calculation of the energy flows in an earth heat constraints by means of a mouse-click.

exchanger. The authors believe that GAEA will be

Turbulent flow for one or more pipes

2000

Maximum diameter of pipes [mm]

1800

Max. diameter of pipes

1600

Re = 2300 for air flow of 140 m/h

1400

1200

1000

800

600

400

200

0

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Number of pipes

Figure 6: Conditions for turbulent flow in earth heat exchangers with one or more pipes

Heat gain of different layouts of earth heat exchangers

3000

2500

2000

1500

1000

500

0

1 2 3 4 5 10

Number of pipes

programs for the calculation of heating and ventilation

5 GAEA AND BUILDING SIMULATION of buildings.

A refined version of the program will allow the

As a stand-alone tool GAEA serves the design and

input of more detailed ground coverings and earth

optimization of earth heat exchangers for buildings

structures above the earth heat exchanger. A better

during the planning process. Yet especially for low

coupling with building simulation programs raises the

energy houses the whole heating equipment is a

possibility to use real weather profiles and hence make

complex system which must not be regarded in its parts

the calculation of air properties more accurate.

only. Up to now the results of GAEA like the air

temperature at the outlet of the buried pipe can be

exported into files and be used as inputs of building ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

simulation programs, e.g. to determine the inlet The authors wish to thank the Ministry of Science and

temperature of air used for ventilating rooms. It is Technology of North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, for

projected to develop the program so that it can be supporting the project under Contract No. 253-011-91

linked together with simulation programs to integrate (AG Solar NRW).

the calculations necessary for the characterization of

the heating and ventilation of houses. REFERENCES

The combination of GAEA with a building

simulation program also increases the accuracy of the

[1] T. Braeske, F.D. Heidt, J. Schnieders: "Software

earth heat exchanger calculation. Actual values for air

to assess energy performance and energy savings

properties can be used out of real weather profiles

economy in buildings", Proceedings EuroSun '96,

where up to now a rough sinusoidal approximation

Freiburg, Sept. 16th...19th 1996, DGS-Sonnenenergie

provides the input values. A monthly heating demand

Verlags-GmbH, Mnchen, 1996, pp. 976...982

analysis e.g. using EN 832 [12] allows the

determination of a utilization factor to characterize the

[2] St. Benkert, T. Braeske, F.D. Heidt: "Presentation

performance of the earth heat exchanger in its

of passive solar and low energy architecture in

interaction with the heating and ventilation system of

Germany by multimedia software", Proceedings Euro-

the building.

Sun '96, Freiburg, Sept. 16th...19th 1996, DGS-

Sonnenenergie Verlags-GmbH, Mnchen, 1996,

6 CONCLUSION pp. 964...969

GAEA still is in its first stage of development, but

already it is a valuable tool to assist the design and [3] H. Grber, S. Erk, U. Grigull: "Die Grundgesetze

calculation of earth heat exchangers forming part of the der Wrmebertragung", 2. Nachdruck des 3.

heating and ventilation system of houses. For different Neudrucks der 3. Aufl., Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1988

layouts of pipes the heat exchange, resulting

temperatures and air flow properties can be calculated, [4] V. Gnielinski: "Neue Gleichungen fr den Wrme-

both for the entire system and for individual segments und den Stoffbergang in turbulent durchstrmten

in the course of the pipes. The results are written into Rohren und Kanlen", in: Forschung im Ingenieur-

output files that serve the input of building simulation Wesen, 41, 1975, S. 8...16

[5] H.L. von Cube: "Die Projektierung von erdver- NOMENCLATURE

legten Rohrschlangen fr Heizwrmepumpen (Erd-

reich-Wrmequelle)", in: Klima + Klte-Ingenieur, 5,

hi = heat transfer coefficient at the inner surface of

1977, S. 217...222

pipe in W/(m K)

Nu = Nusselt number of air in pipe

[6] O. Krischer: "Das Temperaturfeld in der Um-

Pr = Prandtl number of air (typically: Pr = 0,72)

gebung von Rohrleitungen, die in die Erde verlegt

Q W = heat flow from earth through wall of pipe to

sind", in: Der Gesundheits-Ingenieur, 59, 1936,

S. 537...539 air in pipe in W

R0 = radius of pipe in m

[7] K.J. Albers: "Untersuchungen zur Auslegung von (R0 is assumed to be small compared to S0)

Erdwrmeaustauschern fr die Konditionierung der Re = Reynolds number of air in pipe

Zuluft fr Wohngebude", Ph. D. Thesis, Universitt S0 = depth of pipe center under surface in m

Dortmund, Dortmund, 1991 t = time in s

t0 = duration of year in s (1 a 31.5 x 106 s)

[8] F. Jger, J. Reichert, H. Herz: "berprfung eines t/t0 = fraction of year (with t/t0 equal zero for

Erdwrmespeichers", Research Report T81-200, maximum ambient air temperature)

BmFT, Bonn, 1981 UL = heat transfer coefficient per length of wall of

pipe between bulk air and wall in W/(m K)

[9] R. Jeschar, R. Wagner: "Schrifttumsbersicht U* = conductance ratio of heat transfer from earth

ber Stoffdaten und Wrmebergangskoeffizienten", surface to pipe and from airflow to pipe wall

Appendix to [8] z = length of segment in m

A,0(t) = ambient air temperature in C at time t in s

[10] N.N.: "VDI-Wrmeatlas", VDI-Verlag GmbH, A,P = air temperature inside the pipe in C

Dsseldorf, 1977 E,0 = earth temperature at the wall of the pipe not

influenced by pipe in C

[11] H.G. Dibowski: "NESA-Ausstattung und E,W = earth temperature at the wall of the pipe in C

Mekonzept fr das Sonnenofen-Laborgebude", in: m = annual mean value of ambient air temperature

F.D. Heidt (Ed.): Niedrigenergie- und Solar- in C

Architektur (NESA), Fortschritt-Berichte VDI, Reihe max = annual maximum value of ambient air

6, Nr. 319, VDI-Verlag GmbH, Dsseldorf, 1995, temperature in C

S. 30...42 = thermal conductivity of ground in W/(m K)

A,P = thermal conductivity of air in pipe in W/(m K)

[12] N.N.: "Entwurf DIN EN 832 - Wrmetechnisches = dimensionless parameter for "thermal depth"

Verhalten von Gebuden", Beuth-Verlag GmbH, of pipe

Berlin, 1992 c = volumetric heat capacity of ground in J/(m K)

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