University of Galway plans geothermal pilot project

The University of Galway has announced plans to use geothermal energy to heat the swimming pool in its sports centre as part of a research project into optimising heat-pump systems.

Eighteen boreholes lead to a network of pipes as part of a hybrid ground–air heat pump that will feed a district heating system.

The pilot is part of Geofit, an EU Horizon 2020 project set up to promote ground-source heat pump technologies. The university will work with Ireland’s geological survey and the iCRAG geosciences centre to collect data over five years using a fibre-optic temperature-sensing system.

Michael Curran, head of building services at the university, said: “This is not about just changing boilers with heat pumps – we will use this pilot as a teaching tool and a research laboratory.

“This is only a first step of a wider campus decarbonisation plan and an opportunity to monitor different performance data, leading to better decisions for large-scale heat pump applications.”

The campus is part of Galway’s decarbonisation zone which is targeting a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030, followed by the achievement of net zero in 2050.

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