You are here

November 20, 2012 Webinar: District Heating with Renewable Energy

This webinar was held November 20, 2012, and provided information on Indiana's Ball State University geothermal heat pump system, and a hot-water district heating system in St. Paul, Minnesota. Download the presentations below, watch the webinar (YouTube), or view the text version. Find more CommRE webinars.

Paradigm Shift—Coal to Geothermal

Ball State University in Indianapolis, Indiana, is converting its campus district heating and cooling system from a coal-fired steam boiler to a ground source geothermal system that produces simultaneously hot water for heating and chilled water for cooling. It will be the largest ground source geothermal district system in the country.

The current Ball State University heating and cooling operation and how the new geothermal heating and cooling system is being implemented are explained. The heat-pump installation involves drilling 3,600 vertical closed-loop boreholes that are 450 feet deep and that act as heat exchangers. The closed loops transfer heat by virtue of the earth's ability to maintain an average temperature of 55°F year round at that depth in the ground.

The shift from coal to ground-source geothermal heat pumps at Ball State will increase electrical consumption but decrease overall energy use and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) output at the same time. This is a result of coupling the ground source geothermal boreholes with large heat pump chillers. The overall thermodynamic system moves large amounts of energy with limited energy input.

With growing international concern for global warming and the need to reduce worldwide CO2 loading of the atmosphere, geothermal technology is poised to provide the means to help reduce CO2 emissions.

Read more about the project.

Presenter Jim Lowe is the director of engineering, construction, and operations at Ball State University. Lowe holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University and is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in Indiana. He has co-authored a chapter entitled Embracing the Future: The Ball State University Geothermal Project in the book titled Universities and Climate Change and served on the Ball State University Climate Action Task Force. As a signing member of the American College and University President Climate Commitment, Ball State University designated this task force to determine what is needed to bring the university into climate neutrality.

Download the presentation.

Advancing Energy Systems through Integration

Ever-Green Energy shared their experiences with integrated energy system planning and design, including consideration for energy efficiency, fuel diversification, and solutions for infrastructure, financial stability, and sustainability. This presentation provided information on the role of hot water district heating systems in improving energy profiles and unlocking fuel flexibility options for energy users and how the City of St. Paul, Minnesota, has reached many of its efficiency and sustainability goals through the integration of district heating, district cooling, biomass fuels, combined heat and power, thermal storage, smart system monitoring and feedback cycles, and most recently the addition of solar thermal technology.

Presenter Kenneth W. Smith, PE, MBA, is the president and chief executive officer of Ever-Green Energy, a for-profit affiliate of District Energy St. Paul. Before joining Ever-Green Energy in 2006, Smith worked for more than 20 years in the engineering and construction industry planning, designing, and implementing energy and mission critical facility projects around the world for a variety of industries and institutions. A recognized leader in community and campus scale energy systems, Smith is a frequent speaker both in the United States and abroad on energy trends, energy conservation, renewable energy, and resilient integrated energy systems.

Smith serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the International District Energy Association and was named the second vice chair in 2012. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from North Dakota State University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas, and is a registered professional engineer in several states.

Download the presentation.