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Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Energy and Buildings

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Energy and Buildings

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/enbuild

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/enbuild A passive design strategy for a horizontal ground source

A passive design strategy for a horizontal ground source heat pump pipe operation optimization with a non-homogeneous soil profile

Amir Rezaei-Bazkiaei a, , Ehsan Dehghan-Niri c , Ebrahim M. Kolahdouz b , A. Scott Weber a , Gary F. Dargush b

a Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States

b Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States

c Smart Structures Research Lab, Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, NY 14260, United States

a r t i c

l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 30 August 2012 Received in revised form 4 January 2013 Accepted 29 January 2013

Keywords:

Horizontal ground source heat pump Tire Derived Aggregate Non-homogeneous soil Optimization Genetic algorithm Energy efficiency Control

a b s t r a c t

The effectiveness of a non-homogeneous soil profile for horizontal ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), defined as natural backfill with an intermediate layer of material having different thermal character- istics, is investigated. Steps toward development of a comprehensive model to consider the effects of the non-homogeneous layer are described. The developed model is utilized successfully in conjunction with a genetic algorithm (GA) search method to obtain the optimized operational parameters for a GSHP in three different climate conditions. A properly sized and engineered non-homogeneous soil profile demonstrated the potential to increase the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground to a significant level. The potential benefit of a recycled product, Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA), as an insu- lating non-homogeneous layer is assessed. TDA is demonstrated to be more effective in the cold climate (Buffalo) by increasing the energy extraction rates from the ground approximately 15% annually. TDA’s effectiveness is less pronounced in a relatively moderate climate (Dallas) by increasing the energy extrac- tion rates from the ground about 4% annually. For the cooling only scenario (Miami), a high conductive intermediate layer of saturated sand exhibited greater potential to increase the energy dissipation to the ground.

Published by Elsevier B.V.

1. Introduction

Building energy consumption comprises a considerable portion of every nation’s energy budget. Within the energy consuming items in buildings, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) accounts for a majority of energy demand. The reputation of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) in harnessing the Earth’s clean energy with high performance coefficients combined with the technologi- cal advances in the HVAC industry has introduced these systems as one of the promising technologies to reduce building energy consumption. Every GSHP consists of two main parts: the ground side and the heat pump inside the building. The ground side, also referred to as the heat source/sink, consists of the ground pipe

Corresponding author at: 204 Jarvis Hall, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States. Tel.: +1 716 380 5255; fax: +1 716 645 2549. E-mail addresses: ar92@buffalo.edu, amir rezaee engv@yahoo.com

(A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei), ehsandeh@buffalo.edu (E. Dehghan-Niri), mkolahdo@buffalo.edu (E.M. Kolahdouz), sweber@buffalo.edu (A.S. Weber), gdargush@buffalo.edu (G.F. Dargush).

0378-7788/$ – see front matter. Published by Elsevier B.V.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2013.01.040

network and the circulating pump. The heat pump unit itself con- sists of sub-units which handle the thermodynamic relationships between the working fluid and the load side (indoor air or Domestic Hot Water (DHW) network); compressor, condenser, evaporator, the expansion device and blower fans or circulating DHW pumps. The working fluid flows through the ground pipes and exchanges heat with the surrounding soil medium where it gains/loses heat in heating/cooling modes, respectively. The fluid at the outlet of the ground pipe enters the heat pump where the thermodynamic cycle of the heat exchange between the working fluid and the refrigerant is responsible for heat delivery or dissipation in heating and cooling modes, respectively. A successful design of GSHP involves careful selection and sizing of both the ground side and the indoor unit so that heating/cooling loads are met year-round with the least waste heat/electricity inventory. This selection process usually involves employment of simplifying engineering assumptions. For example, one of the most well-known ground pipe sizing semi-empirical for- mulas is based on the concept of thermal resistance calculation for the soil, pipe and working fluid [1]. Resistance factor calculation is based on the line source theory, which assumes a constant source of heat propagates continuously through the soil medium of interest.

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A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

This assumption, while not completely representative of ground pipe operation, is assumed to be within reasonable range of error for engineering practice. A heating/cooling load budget analysis for a prospect building via accepted methods, such as the bin method or, more popular, well accepted dynamic thermal load simulation software such as Energy+and eQuest, is the GSHP design start point. The calculated peak load data is subsequently used to size and design the GSHP system. Even with the dynamic software tools, the design for the capacity of the heat pump equipment is usually based on the peak load (worst case scenario) conditions that is oversized in many cases. Moreover, most ground source heat pump design methods usually consider a constant source/sink strength (ground temper- ature) based on the maximum and minimum observed data or semi-experimental formulas [1]. These assumptions do not capture the dynamic variation of the boundary conditions and the time- variable nature of the system functionality. The historical approach in design methods yield operational values for heating and ventila- tion systems that stray from the least waste energy path. This has made the dynamic, real-time analysis of GSHPs the focus of several recent research studies [2–4]. An essential part of the GSHP design, after selection of the pipe length and size, is the proper selection of the working fluid temperature range as it is pumped back into the ground. The Inter- national Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) suggests an approach that relates the inlet water temperature to the heat pump to maximum, minimum and average ambient air tempera- tures. It is the responsibility of the designer to select the appropriate optimal entering water temperature to the heat pump that guaran- tees efficient performance. Given the complexities of an accurate building load evaluation including users consumption habits, level of building insulation, changes in occupancy, and sudden climatic changes that are far different from the long term statistical design year data, etc., and its causal relationship with the GSHP system units, the optimization of the overall performance of a GSHP is a challenge. Compounding the problem is the fact that ground char- acteristics vary in different regions to make it more challenging to track the dynamic building load demand and keep the heat- ing/conditioning process as optimized as possible. Because the absence of design experience can cause a wide deviation from the optimized cost and operation path, the optimization algorithm pro- posed in this study aims at providing the designers of the GSHPs with beneficial information regarding the GSHP design. Strategies to control the capacity of GSHP systems to match the building energy demand emerged as a response to the large energy consumption rates in buildings [5]. The capacity control practices explore options to satisfy building load requirements and minimize the waste energy in the heating/conditioning process. Capacity con- trol usually involves either the control on the components of a GSHP system (e.g. the compressor, condenser, ground pipes, etc.) or a change in design configurations for different seasons or advanced control algorithms [6]. The correlations between different units of a GSHP are quite complex and changes in characteristics of one unit with time affect the overall performance of the system. Introduc- tion of the building properties and its dynamic energy requirements will add to the complexity of the near-optimal energy delivery goal [7–9], especially when integrated building energy solutions [10,11] or non-conventional HVAC designs [12,13] are involved, or the system performance goals require a close examination of the interactions between the building and the HVAC systems [14]. Researchers have attempted to model these complexities by dynamically tracking the interactions between these units via widely accepted building energy modeling softwares [2,15,16] or in combination with thermodynamic data base models such as EES [3] or by self developed programs [17,18]. The general struc- ture of such models consists of first-tier models (e.g. ground pipe

and heat pump), which each have sub-models of second-tier (e.g. compressor, evaporator, etc.) with higher details. The functional relationship between the sub-models is constructed via operational parameters, such as water/brine and refrigerant flow rates [19,20]. The level of complexity of these sub-models significantly depends on the purpose of the modeling effort [6]. Although numerous studies have aimed at controlling the heat pump side of a GSHP system, a much smaller number have focused on design methods for the ground side characteristics. Ground related work is usually associated with additional capital invest- ment that has retarded exploration of design options in the ground compared to the heat pump unit inside the building. Previous research results suggest that utilization of a non-homogeneous system above the pipe burial depth might be worth more atten- tion [21]. Based on the results from a comprehensive horizontal ground pipe model calibrated to a set of field data from a mild climate, the non-homogeneous soil profile demonstrated the potential to increase the energy extraction rates from the ground by approximately 17%, in a peak heating month, compared to the homogeneous soil profile [21]. This research is focused on the analysis of the GSHP system performance optimization via control on the source/sink (ground) side. The following simple semi-empirical equations for the enter- ing water temperature to the pump in heating and cooling seasons were adopted from the International Ground Dource Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) design manual [1] to make the link between the ground pipe and the heat pump side of the GSHP system:

T f,i h = T f,i min +

T f,i mean T f,i min

T airmean T airmin (T airmax T air )

T f,i c = T f,i mean +

T f,i max T f,i mean

T airmax T airmean (T air T airmean )

(1)

(2)

where T f,i h is the entering water temperature to the ground in heat- ing mode, T f,i c is the entering water temperature to the ground in cooling mode, T f,i min is the minimum design entering water tem- perature in heating, T f,i mean is the average design entering water temperature in heating or cooling, T f,i max is the maximum design entering water temperature in cooling, T airmean is the average annual ambient air temperature, T airmin is the minimum annual ambient air temperature, T airmax is the maximum annual ambi- ent air temperature, and T air is the air temperature at the time of simulation. The model employed for characteristic analysis of ground pipes comprises a comprehensive surface energy balance model, which is capable of solving for the temperature distribution of the entire soil profile to obtain the outlet water temperature from the ground pipes. A detailed description of the surface energy balance equa- tions, parameters and the solution methods has been presented in material and methods section. The developed model was utilized to investigate the potential benefits of a non-homogeneous soil profile on the ground side performance. Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA) has been proposed as an intermediate layer in the non-homogeneous system [21]. TDA mainly consists of chopped pieces of used tires in a variety of nom- inal sizes ranging from 1 to above 5 in. [22]. The idea to employ TDA, also referred to as tire chips, tire shreds, and tire mulch, in civil engineering applications was first initiated by Humphrey [23]. New applications for TDA, mostly in civil engineering, have been proposed based on its unique physical characteristics. TDA’s rel- atively low density compared to conventional backfill makes it a viable alternative fill material, where a lighter fill material is desired in construction [24]. Its low thermal conductivity was the driv- ing force for utilizing TDA as an alternative insulation material in road base insulation and some agricultural applications to modu- late temperature fluctuation on the soil surface [22,23,25]. Several

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

41

Table 1 TDA thermal and physical properties in literature.

Material [reference]

Thermal

Specific

Density (kg m 3 )

conductivity

heat

(W

m 1 C 1 )

(J

kg 1 C 1 )

TDA (2-in. nominal) [22] TDA (1-in. nominal) [25] TDA (2–12-in.) [26] TDA (2-in. nominal) [27]

0.149–0.164

NA

513

NA

NA

1060–1100

0.29

1.15

720

0.564

507

641

NA: Not available.

studies in the literature have reported on the thermal and physical properties of TDA [22,26,27] and these are presented in Table 1.

A thermal conductivity value of 0.29 W m 1 C 1 , specific heat of

500 J kg 1 C 1 and density of 720 kg m 3 were chosen as represen- tative properties of TDA material for the purpose of the analyses

in this paper. In this work, TDA was compared to other potential

materials for their applicability as the non-homogeneous layer. The overall goal of this research was to determine a GSHP design that optimizes energy savings by utilizing an evolutionary algo- rithm to evaluate different materials for use as the intermediate layer. The optimization was carried out for the same pipe charac- teristics, but different climatic conditions to evaluate the effects of climatic conditions on the optimized parameters.

2. Materials and methods

2.1. Surface energies

The surface boundary condition takes into account the effects

of energy balance due to a variety of mechanisms responsible for

surface–ambient heat interaction. The total energy balance on the

ground surface (Q t , W) can be written in rate form as [28,29]:

Q t = Q c + Q e + Q h + Q le + Q li + Q si + Q p

(3)

where Q c is the conduction heat flux through snow layer or ground

surface (W), Q e is the turbulent exchange of latent heat (W), Q h

is the turbulent exchange of sensible heat (W), Q le is the emitted

longwave radiation heat flux (W), Q li is the incoming long wave radiation (W), Q si is the solar radiation reaching the surface of earth (W), and Q p is the heat flux due to precipitation (W). Heat conduction through the snow and ground layers can be written as [29]:

Q c = −(T s0 T b )

z

s

K s

K g 1

+ z g

(4)

where T s0 is the snow surface or ground surface temperature depending on whether the surface is covered with snow or not, T b is the ground temperature at the bottom of topsoil layer (thick- ness of first discretization element in y direction, y), z s and z g are the thicknesses of snow and the top layer of soil ( y), respectively. K s and K g (W m 1 K 1 ) are the thermal conductivities of the snow and soil layers respectively. Turbulent exchange of sensible and latent heat, Q h and Q e are given as [28,29]:

Q h = a C p,a D h (T a T s0 )

Q e = a L s D e 0.622 e a e s0

P a

(5)

(6)

The exchange coefficients for sensible and latent heat, D h and D e , and the stability function are defined as follows:

D e = D h =

2 U s 0 ) 2

(ln z/z

(7)

=

1

1 + 10R i

(8)

where a is the air density equal to 1.275 kg m 3 , C p,a is the specific

heat of air assumed to be 1000 J kg 1 K 1 , T a is the air temperature (K), e s0 is the surface vapor pressure (Pa), e a is the atmospheric vapor pressure (Pa), P a is the atmospheric pressure (Pa), L s is the latent heat of sublimation of snow (J kg 1 ), is the Von Karman’s constant, U s is the wind speed (m s 1 ) at reference height z (m), and z o is the roughness length set to 0.5 m. The Richardson number, R i , is defined as:

R

i = gz(T a T s0 )

2

z

T a U

(9)

where g is the gravitational acceleration (m s 2 ), and U z is the wind speed at the elevation z relative to reference height z 0 . The emitted longwave radiation, Q le , was given by:

(10)

Q le = s (T s0 ) 4

where s is the soil surface emissivity assumed to be equal to 0.98, and is the Stefan Boltzman constant equal to 5.6704 × 10 8

(W m 2 K 4 ).

The incoming longwave radiation was given by the empirical description [30].

(11)

Q li = 1.08(1 e (0.01e a ) T a /2016 ) (T a ) 4

log 10 e a =

11.40 2353

T dp

(12)

where T dp is the daily dew-point temperature (K). The incident solar radiation reaching earth’s surface can be described as follows:

(13)

where S m is the mean annual solar radiation (W m 2 ), S a is the amplitude of surface solar radiation (W m 2 ), w is the angular velocity (rad), and 1 is the phase angle (rad). Heat flux due to precipitation can be written as [31]:

(14)

where I R is the rain intensity (kg m 2 s), and C p,w is the specific heat of water assumed to be equal to 4186 J kg 1 K 1 . As some of the energy equations are a function of the surface temperature of the solution domain that need to be numerically solved, utilization of an iterative method was necessary. The surface energy equations, which are obtained from the daily meteorological data, were solved for the unknown surface temperature values, T s0 , using the Newton–Raphson method. This iterative scheme solves for temperature values on the surface using Eq. (15):

Q p = I R C p,w (T a T s0 )

Q si = (1 Albedo)[S m + S a Re(exp(iwt + 1 ))]

n+1

T

s0

= T s0 f (T s0 )

n

f

(T s0 )

(15)

where f(T s0 ) takes the following form:

f (T s0 ) = Q c (T s0 ) +

Q e (T s0 ) + Q h (T s0 ) + Q le (T s0 ) + Q li (T s0 ) + Q si (T s0 )

 

+

Q p (T s0 ) = 0

 

(16)

The

iteration

continues

until

the

temperature

difference

between two consecutive iterations becomes less than 0.1 C.

2.2. Ground pipe modeling

The ground pipe configuration employed in this research con- sists of a horizontal pipe with a total length of 61 m (L) and 1.9 cm diameter, 3 m distance between inlet and outlet, buried at the depth of 2 m, with the working fluid flow rate of 0.19 kg s 1 , as depicted in

42

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50 Fig. 1. Configuration of the ground pipe

Fig. 1. Configuration of the ground pipe and soil layer (not scaled).

Fig. 1. These design characteristics belong to an experimental test room in Buffalo, NY, with an approximate heating load of 1.5 kW, heated and conditioned with the specified horizontal GSHP, that is under investigation by these authors. Assuming there is no ther- mal interaction between pipes, the solution domain (detailed in Fig. 2) was considered to be from the center line of the pipe to the mid-span of the distance between pipes (1.5 m), in the x-direction, and from ground surface to the farfield (5 m) in the y-direction. The ground pipe is buried at the mesh level j pipe , as indicated in Fig. 2. Soil thermal conductivity (K s ) and thermal diffusivity (˛ s ) were selected based on the soil and rock classification guideline [32] to be equal to 1.67 W m 1 K 1 and 66 × 10 8 m 2 s 1 , respec- tively. For the sake of comparison, this ground pipe physical setting and the original soil properties were assumed to be identical for all the regions simulated in this paper. A comprehensive study of the impact of geographical variation of the soil properties has not been the focus of this study and is the subject of authors’ future work. To account for the three-dimensional behavior of the pipe and the surrounding soil, the effect of the working fluid flow rate was considered along the pipe direction. The third dimension of the

along the pipe direction. The third dimension of the Fig. 3. Schematic of slices of 3D

Fig. 3. Schematic of slices of 3D domain in pipe direction (not scaled).

problem was modeled by splitting the physical domain in the pipe direction into a series of cross-sections (slices) of the soil profile for each time step, including the nodal temperature of the fluid at the pipe’s location. Fig. 3 shows how the slices are spaced in the pipe direction to cover the temperature distribution of the entire 3D domain. At each time step, the nodal temperatures of each cross section were obtained and subsequently updated for the next slice along the pipe’s length to achieve a temperature distribution of soil and fluid at the end of the pipe (L). The same process was repeated for the next time steps until the end of the simulation time.

3. Numerical algorithm

The three-dimensional temperature distribution in the soil media was modeled by solving the governing heat conduction equation and incorporating the heat flow rate forced by the circu- lating water. The temperature gradient in the pipe material is small enough to be neglected allowing the heat equation to be solved in

to be neglected allowing the heat equation to be solved in Fig. 2. Schematic of the

Fig. 2. Schematic of the solution domain mesh showing the relative size of the mesh grid and pipe diameter (scaled).

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

43

a two-dimensional geometry by inclusion of the fluid temperature in the domain [33]. The governing thermal diffusion equation:

1 T (x, y, t) = 2 T (x, y, t) + 2 T (x, y, t)

˛

t

x 2

y 2

(17)

was solved for the entire domain in two-dimensions for the pure heat conduction first, and the solution was then updated along the pipe’s length to obtain the solution in three dimensions. In Eq. (17), ˛ is the thermal diffusivity of the medium through which heat travels. The output water temperature equation along the pipe direction, calculated based on the analytical solution for the energy balance between surrounding soil medium and pipe [34], constructs the link between the fluid and the soil temperature in the model. Thus,

T f,out = T s (T s T f,i ) · exp mC˙

p,f

K

s

L

(18)

where T f,out is the fluid temperature exiting a pipe of length L (m), T s is the surrounding soil temperature, T f,i is the initial water temperature entering the pipe, K s is the soil thermal conductivity (W m 1 C 1 ), m˙ is the mass flow rate (kg s 1 ) and C p,f is the specific heat of the working fluid (J kg 1 C 1 ). Boundary and initial conditions for the solution domain are described as follows:

T i = T (x, y),

t = 0

T

x

T

x

0,

= x = x max

= 0,

x = 0

Q t

T (y, t) = T (y, t) Kusuda ,

(W/m 2 ),

y = 0

y = y max

while the initial temperature distribution of the soil profile (T i ) was obtained from the Kusuda model [35]:

T (y, t) Kusuda = T avg + T amp e y /˛ s P cos 2

P y

t

P

˛

s

(19)

where T avg is the average annual surface temperature, T amp is the amplitude of fluctuation of the annual surface temperature, y is the depth from ground surface (m), ˛ s is soil thermal diffusivity (m 2 s 1 ), P is the duration of a year in seconds, and t is the time of the year in seconds. The second partial derivative of temperature in x-direction was written with a central difference scheme:

2 T x

2

|

n

(i,j) =

T

n

i1,j 2T i,j + T i+1,j

n

n

(

x) 2

+ O( x) 2

T

n

i1,j 2T i,j + T i+1,j

n

n

(

x) 2

2

= ı x) 2

x

T

n

(

(20)

where

ı

Using the same discretization for the y-direction and a forward difference to represent the time derivative, the governing heat equation therefore can be expressed in terms of nodal temperature values in explicit form as follows:

(21)

2

x T = T i1,j 2T i,j + T i+1,j

T n+1 T n

t

= ˛

2

( x) 2 + ( y) 2

ı

2

x

T

n

ı

y

T n

(22)

Next, a scheme was selected to sequence through time. As depicted in Fig. 4, the solution domain was discretized in n x +1

Fig. 4 , the solution domain was discretized in n x +1 Fig. 4. Two dimensional

Fig. 4. Two dimensional grid of the solution domain [21].

nodes in x and n y + 1 nodes in the y-direction, of which inner domain was used to solve for the temperature distribution of each cross section of the physical domain. The nodes on the boundary were separated to force boundary conditions in x and y direction. A fully explicit finite difference solution scheme was employed to solve for temperature distribution of the solution domain. The model was constructed in MATLAB. Time steps of 1800 s and space discretization of x = y = 0.1 m were chosen, based on a stability analysis of the model undertaken in a previous work [21]. Fully explicit finite difference formulation of the heat conduc- tion equation takes the form:

T

n+1

i,j

T i,j = r(T

n

n

i1,j 2T i,j + T

n

i+1,j ) + r(T

n

n

i,j1 2T i,j + T

n

n

i,j+1 )

where x= y

r x =

˛ t x) 2 ,

(

r y =

˛ t y) 2 ,

(

r x = r y = r

(23)

(24)

After rearrangement, the explicit equation will take the form:

T

n+1

i,j

= rT

n

i1,j + rT i+1,j + rT i,j1 + rT

n

n

i,j+1 + (1 4r)T i,j

n

n

(25)

Once the homogeneous case formulation was performed, the

next step was adjustments to the difference equations to take into account the effects of the internal boundary conditions on the top and bottom of the intermediate layer. To meet the temperature and flux conditions on the internal boundaries, the energy balance on the interfacial nodes of intermediate layer and soil was obtained by writing the nodal fluxes and the energy storage term for the control volume around each node. Fig. 5 depicts the energy balance for a node on the top and bottom of the intermediate layer interface, the control volume around the node, and the heat fluxes involved. The resulting energy balance is written:

q 1 + q 3 q 2 q 4 = ( C p ) avg · x · y T i,j ,

t

where

(

C p ) avg = ( C p ) s + ( C p ) int.

2

,

K avg = K s + K int.

2

(26)

44

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50 Fig. 5. The intermediate layer top and

Fig. 5. The intermediate layer top and bottom interfaces energy balance [21].

and the resulting values of heat fluxes are described as follows:

q 1 = K avg ·

T

n

i1,j T i,j

n

x

·

y

q 2 = K avg ·

T

n

i+1,j T i,j

n

x

·

q 3 =

K s ·

T

n

i,j1 T i,j

n

y

· x

y

q 4 = K int. ·

T

n

i,j+1 T i,j

n

y

·

x

(27)

(28)

(29)

(30)

Substituting the flux equations (27)–(30) into the energy balance equation and rearranging the equations results in the intro- duction of the following new parameters in the difference equation:

r AVG =

K

avg

t

·

(

C p ) avg

r S =

( x) 2 ,

K

s

·

(

r T =

t

( C p ) avg

x) 2

K

int.

t

·

(

C p ) avg

(

x) 2 ,

(31)

where K avg is the average of the soil and the intermediate layer thermal conductivity (W m 1 C 1 ), K int. is the intermediate layer thermal conductivity (W m 1 C 1 ), and K s is the soil thermal con- ductivity (W m 1 C 1 ). The r AVG , r T and r S are the parameters defined to express the finite difference formula for the energy bal- ance on top and bottom of the intermediate layer. The difference formulas obtained previously for the explicit method were revised to account for the heat flux through the TDA top and bottom layers resulting in the relations:

TDA top layer:

T n+1

i,j

=

r AVG T i1,j + r AVG T i+1,j + r S T i,j1 + r T T i,j+1

n

n

n

n

n

+ (1 2r AVG r S r T )T i,j

TDA bottom layer:

T n+1

i,j

=

r AVG T i1,j + r AVG T i+1,j + r T T i,j1 + r S T i,j+1

n

n

n

n

n

+ (1 2r AVG r S r T )T i,j

(32)

(33)

4. Optimization algorithm

A genetic algorithm (GA) optimization scheme was used to obtain the operational parameters of a horizontal GSHP that maxi- mizes energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The main advantage of GA over traditional optimization algorithms for this work is that it does not require and does not depend on gradient information of the objective function; instead it uses a popula- tion of design points and randomly utilizes information from each generation to the subsequent one to search for the parameters that optimize the objective function. The optimization variables define the characteristics (genes) of each design point in the ini- tial pool (population) of the design points. The information about each design point is compared to other ones in the pool to trans- fer information to the next set of design points (next generation). The reproduction of new set of design alternatives with updated variables continues for a number of times (generations) to achieve the set of variables that yield the optimal results. The specifications of the GA implementation for this work are listed in Table 2. More

Table 2

Genetic algorithm terminology and definitions.

Population size

Number of individuals that are evaluated in each

Generation

generation. At each iteration, the genetic algorithm runs the core finite difference ground pipe model with the selected variables from the current population to produce a new population of possible input variables (500, per each generation in this paper) Each successive population of possible set of input

Crossover

variables is called a new generation (50, in this paper) GA’s operation used to vary the programming of a

Mutation

chromosome or chromosomes from one generation of input variables to the next GA’s operation used to maintain genetic diversity from one

Elitism

generation of a population of input variables to the next. This operator is needed to avoid the search algorithm get trapped in a local optimum design GA’s mechanism that ensures that the highly fitted

Migration

individuals of the population of input variables are passed on to the next generation without being altered by GA’s operators. Using elitism ensures that the best input variables of the population can never be altered from one generation to the next. This operator increases the rate of convergence to the optimal point The migration algorithm partitions a population of selected variables by the algorithm into a set of sub-populations and shares information between these sub-populations

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

Table 3 Working fluid properties selected from the IGSHPA guideline [1].

45

Index number

Fluid

Thermal conductivity

Specific heat

Density

Dynamic viscosity

 

(W

m 1 C 1 )

(J

kg 1 C 1 )

(kg m 3 )

(kg m 1 s 1 ) × 10 3

1

Water

0.6

4183

998.3

1

2

6% propylene-glycol and water

0.476

4140

1010

1.5

3

13% propylene-glycol and water

0.432

4100

1010

1.9

4

18% propylene-glycol and water

0.408

4060

1020

3

5

24% propylene-glycol and water

0.389

4020

1020

6.3

information about GA optimization and illustrative examples can be found in [36,37]. Designers often use past experience to select the “best” heat pump design that satisfies the energy needs of the building during different seasons. Given that the common design practice is based on peak load design, GSHP designs are inclined to be far from the optimized scenario to meet the real-time heating loads in a build- ing. Several researchers in the building energy and heat transfer literature have come to the conclusion that optimization schemes can benefit the design process where the effects of the climatic conditions are meant to be closely considered in an efficient design process [38–40]. In their comprehensive work on vertical [38] and horizontal [39] ground source heat pumps, Sanaye and Niroomand modeled the thermodynamic cycle of the heat pump in conjunction with the thermal resistance pipe model to obtain the optimized operational parameters. Sayyaadi and Amlashi performed a simi- lar study via exergy analysis of a vertical ground source heat pump

[40].

In the present work, a genetic algorithm (GA) optimization scheme was designed to obtain the optimum values of the inter- mediate layer configuration (thickness and position), working fluid type, and inlet fluid temperature ranges. The results of the simula- tion provide insights on the benefits returned from the introduction of an intermediate layer on the performance of a GSHP throughout the year. The model outputs help elucidate the optimal proper- ties and configuration of the intermediate layer and the optimal entering water temperatures to the ground throughout the year to achieve the maximum energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The ultimate motivation behind the analysis is to deter- mine whether the operating parameters for different months of the year are in a range that confirms the benefits of a capacity control strategy or a set of selected operational parameters can be used for all months without deviating from the optimized monthly values. Seven input variables (decision variables) were chosen to feed the core finite difference model in each run of the GA. These inputs comprise working fluid properties, minimum, mean and maxi- mum entering water temperature values, the intermediate layer thickness, position and thermal properties. To let the evolution- ary algorithm search in a broader spectrum of potential designs, the algorithm was allowed to choose between a range of practi- cal working fluid properties (Table 3) and also a range of common soil properties applicable to the development of ground source heat pump works (Table 4). Selection of these values for the work- ing fluid properties and common range of soil properties for the GSHP application were based on the information published in the

guidelines [1,32], respectively. TDA thermal properties were listed as one of the intermediate layer choices that GA can choose from in each run. The genetic search algorithm selects from the list of pro- vided input parameters, based on the GA options defined in Table 2, then uses these input variables to run the core finite difference model that results in calculation of the outlet fluid temperatures from the ground pipe. The outlet fluid temperature values were subsequently used to calculate the energy extraction/dissipation rates based on the relation:

˙

E ground = m˙ · C p,f · (T

avg

out

T

avg

in

)

(34)

where the time averaged values of outlet (T

)

working fluid temperatures for the simulation period (monthly or seasonal) were used to calculate the energy extraction/dissipation rates in heating/cooling modes. m˙ is the working fluid mass flow rate (kg s 1 ). The heat pump work rate was calculated as follows:

avg

out

avg

) and inlet (T

in

˙ m˙ · P

E pump =

· pump

(35)

where P is the pressure drop in the ground pipe, calculated based on the friction factor and Reynolds number described in [41], and pump is the pump efficiency (assumed 85% for a constant speed pump in this study). The objective function used in the simulation was calculated as reciprocal of the difference between the ground energy extraction rate and the circulating pump energy consumption rate as follows:

Minimize(F)

1

F =

˙

E ground

˙

E

pump

(36)

It was assumed that maximum heating/cooling energy rates from the ground pipes do not exceed 1.5 kW in any of the cities, to match it with the energy demand of the small test room under investigation by the authors. This assumption was made to make the comparison between different regions possible by searching for the parameters that maximize the energy extraction rates from the ground with a similar upper limit in all the modeled climatic conditions. Although a different objective function could have been defined to include the impacts of the dynamic building load requirements, which would have been a more holistic view of the building and GSHP system, the scope and intend of this paper has been primarily put on optimizing the ground side characteristics. The next phase of this project will be more focused on the dynamic

Table 4 Intermediate layer thermal properties selected from the manual for the soil and rock classification for ground heat pump design [32].

Index number

Intermediate material

Thermal conductivity

Thermal diffusivity

 

(W

m 1 C 1 )

(m 2 s 1 ) × 10 8

1

TDA

0.29

58

2

Sand

0.77

45

3

Clay

1.11

54

4

Loam

0.91

49

5

Saturated silt or clay

1.67

66

6

Saturated sand

2.5

93

46

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

35 Buffalo 30 Dallas 25 Miami 20 15 10 5 0 −5 0 50 100
35
Buffalo
30
Dallas
25
Miami
20
15
10
5
0
−5
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
Air temperature (Degrees C)
Solar radiation (W/m 2 )

Days (starting on October 1st)

240

220

200

180

160

140

120

100

80

60

Dallas Buffalo Miami 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
Dallas
Buffalo
Miami
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350

Days (starting on October 1st)

Fig. 6. Annual air and solar radiation variation in the selected cities.

optimization of the building load demand as well as the cost savings associated with the presence of the intermediate soil layer. A population size of 500 and 50 generations was selected for each run of the model after a few diagnostic runs to guarantee the convergence to the optimized values. A single-objective GA was used to search for the optimal value of the objective function in each population of results or, in other words, maximize the net energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. For each set of parameters in the initial population of the pos- sible design points (500 for these runs) chosen by GA, the finite difference ground pipe model was run to calculate the energy rates and the heat pump work rate required to calculate the objective function. The resulting values of the objective function for all the points in the pool of initial set of variables were sorted, compared and ranked by the GA options defined in Table 2 based on their optimal values of objective function. After all the calculations for the initial population of possible optimal points were performed, the GA utilizes the mutation and crossover functions as listed in Table 2 to create the next generation of the near-optimal points. A similar calculation process was repeated for each generation of GA runs where the elite (near-optimal) sets of parameters from each population were passed to the next generations of best results, and this procedure repeated itself till the last generation (total of 50 generations) of optimal results were obtained. A total number of 32 processors with 48 GB memory were used for each monthly run of the model, which resulted in a runtime of about 7 h. A total number of 64 processors with 48 GB memory were used for each annual run, which resulted in a runtime of about 65 h for each year.

5. Effects of climate on optimization

The main focus of this research was to study the effects of the climatic conditions on the selection of the optimized opera- tional ground side parameters for a horizontal GSHP employing

a non-homogeneous soil profile. To evaluate the potential bene- fits of the intermediate layer in different climate conditions, three cities representing different climates were selected for evalua- tion. These were Buffalo, NY, Dallas, TX and Miami, FL. Buffalo’s climate condition requires space heating for a majority of the year (approximately 838 annual cooling-degree-days, extracted from www.degreedays.net), so Buffalo was assumed to represent

a heating dominated city with eight months of heating (start- ing in October). Miami’s case with approximately 4517 annual cooling-degree-days was assumed to be a representative of a warm climate. Simulation for Dallas (approximately 3621 annual cooling-degree-days) was done with the assumption of six months (November–April) of heating to be representative of a mild climate condition. To simplify the introduction of the weather data, the air

and dew-point temperature, and solar radiation values for these cities were introduced to the model via estimation of these inputs by the following cosine functions:

T air = T a-avg + T a-amp cos 2

t

P

˛ air

12

(37)

where T a-avg is the average annual air temperature, T a-amp is the amplitude of fluctuation of annual air temperature, and ˛ air is the fitted cosine model phase difference for air temperature, calcu- lated based on the start time of the modeling on October first (the assumed heating season start time). In addition, the dew-point temperature T dewpoint used in calculation of the incoming longwave radiation described in [21], was modeled as:

T dewpoint = T dew-avg + T dew-amp cos 2

t

P

˛ dew

12

(38)

where T dew-avg is the average annual dew-point temperature, T dew-amp is the amplitude of annual dew-point temperature vari- ation, and ˛ dew is the fitted cosine model phase difference for dew-point temperature. Finally,

Q si = Q si-avg + Q si-amp cos 2

P ˛ Q si

t

12

(39)

where Q si-avg is the average annual solar radiation reaching the sur- face, Q si-amp is the amplitude of fluctuation of the solar radiation throughout the year, and the ˛ Q si is the fitted cosine model phase difference for radiation. Weather data were obtained form the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) and curve-fitting was undertaken in the Microsoft Excel environment to obtain the input parameters to the cosine models. A schematic of air temperature and solar radiation variation for these cities is presented in Fig. 6. A summary of the input parameters to the model for these cities is presented in Table 5. Here, U s is the average annual surface wind

Table 5 Weather data for selected cities as input to the model.

 

City

Buffalo

Dallas

Miami

T a-avg ( C) T a-amp ( C)

9.3

19.7

23.7

14.1

12.2

6.8

˛ air (month)

10.1

10.1

10.3

T dew-avg ( C) T dew-amp ( C)

4.3

9.4

18.1

12.2

11.6

7.3

˛ dew (month)

10.2

10

10.4

Q si-avg (W m 2 ) Q si-amp (W m 2 )

142

168

182

75

59

33

˛ Q si (month)

9.2

10.2

10.1

U s (m s 1 )

4.2

4.1

4

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

Table 6 Monthly genetic algorithm results for Buffalo, Dallas and Miami.

47

Month

Buffalo

Dallas

Miami

 

˙

˙

˙

 

Intermediate

E ground (W)

%

Intermediate

E ground (W)

%

Intermediate

E ground (W)

%

material

material

material

October

Sat. sand

558

6.5

TDA

1500

0.2

Sat. sand

1499

2.2

November

TDA

492

4.7

Sat. sand

1071

4.9

Sat. sand

1500

0.1

December

TDA

515

13.2

Sat. sand

1096

1.7

Sat. sand

1359

7.1

January

TDA

474

18.8

TDA

1054

0.1

Sat. sand

712

7.4

February

TDA

375

19.4

Sat. sand

1017

4.9

Sat. sand

649

6.2

March

TDA

252

6.8

Sat. sand

937

6.8

Sat. sand

1145

8.5

April

Sat. sand

179

9.1

Sat. sand

825

6.7

Sat. sand

1500

0.6

May

Sat. sand

295

11.7

TDA

1500

0.3

TDA

1500

1.1

June

TDA

1500

2.5

TDA

1500

1.7

TDA

1500

0.2

July

Sat. sand

1500

1.2

TDA

1500

1.7

TDA

1500

0.9

August

TDA

1500

1.2

TDA

1500

0.9

TDA

1500

0.6

September

TDA

1500

1.3

TDA

1500

1.7

TDA

1500

0.3

velocity (m s 1 ) and the rest of the parameters are defined in Eqs.

(37)–(39).

6. Results and discussion

6.1. Monthly optimization of depth and placement of

non-homogeneous layer for energy saving

The optimization process was performed separately for each month to estimate the range of the optimal operating parameters and how the optimal parameters vary from month to month. The selection of the intermediate layer material type by the algorithm assures a non-homogeneous profile that provides the best per- formance. The optimized monthly parameters for the three cities evaluated are presented in Table 6. The columns in this table con- tain the optimized choice of the intermediate layer and the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground for each month. The energy rates and the percent difference between the calculated energy rates with the non-homogeneous soil profile and the corre- sponding values for the homogeneous soil profile are presented for each city as well. It can be concluded from these results that including an inter- mediate non-homogeneous layer of TDA provides more benefits in certain climate conditions and within each climate its potential advantage is more pronounced in some months more than others. Results for Buffalo (Table 6) show that TDA was selected as the dominant intermediate layer for eight months of the year of which five months (November–March) were in the heating season. In the cooling season, TDA was not selected only in July where the sat- urated sand tends to exhibit a dominant effect as an intermediate layer. The results for Dallas (Table 6) show a different trend where TDA has been selected as the dominant intermediate layer mostly in warmer months of the year, whereas saturated sand yields the optimal energy extraction rates in the colder months. The reason behind this observation probably lies in the difference in the phase change angle of the annual temperature and solar radiation for Buf- falo and Dallas. The maximum and minimum ambient temperature and solar radiations occur with a time lag for these cities (Fig. 6). Therefore, the interplay of energy exchange processes on the sur- face seems to favor the most conductive intermediate layer versus the least conductive layer or vice versa in certain months of the year. TDA was selected by the algorithm in the hottest months of the year in Miami (Table 6) to yield the highest energy dis- sipation rates. There is an inconsistent trend in selection of the choice intermediate layer properties in June, for Buffalo, and in January, for Dallas, as compared to the other months of the same season. This might be associated with the fact that the results of the

optimization algorithm for these two months were marginally con- vergent to select TDA as the best intermediate material, whereas if the optimization would have continued longer and for larger number of generations, saturated sand would have been selected. An interesting observation from the monthly results was that only the two intermediate materials with lowest and highest ther- mal conductivities were selected as the choice non-homogeneous layer material through the optimization algorithm. The fact that TDA (the least conductive) or saturated sand (the most con- ductive) were selected among the provided list of intermediate material suggests that the ground pipes can benefit from a non- homogeneous layer above the pipe burial depth throughout the

year, but not necessarily from the one with the highest insulation properties.

It should be noted that this modeling procedure does not take

into account other characteristics of the TDA or saturated sand. Characteristics such as the porosity and water holding capacity, which might potentially contribute to considerably different per- formance results than that only based on the heat conduction in the soil medium. TDA’s porous structure can potentially enhance the moisture migration to the underlying layers of soil, where higher moisture can contribute to higher thermal conductivities of the soil around the pipes. It is expected that this characteristic of TDA has a more substantial effect in the summer time, especially in regions with less rainfall events. The values in the last column for each city in Table 6 represent the percentage energy extraction/dissipation rate increase com- pared to the homogeneous soil profile in different months. There are trends in comparing the results for similar seasons in different cities. The percentage increases in energy extraction rate for the coldest months in Buffalo (January–February) are as high as 18–19% as compared to similar time periods for Dallas with highest values of 5–6%. This finding can be translated into the potential for higher energy harvesting potential with a non-homogeneous soil profile in the heating season in a colder climate (Buffalo). It should be noted

again that the material choice for the intermediate layer in the cold season in Buffalo was TDA versus the saturated sand for Dallas.

A similar comparison for the cooling season in all cities reveals

an interesting observation. The highest increase in the energy dis- sipation rate, for cooling in Miami, happens in the coldest month of the year with an increase in energy dissipation rates of approx- imately 6–8%. The optimization algorithm tends to choose higher working fluid temperatures, compared to the warmer months, with the highest intermediate layer conductivity (saturated sand) to maximize the heat flux to the ground and subsequently increase the overall ground pipe performance. This trend did not repeat in warmer months as the algorithm searches through the large popu- lation of possible solutions. The comparison for the cooling season in all cities shows that relatively small increase in energy extraction

48

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

rates from the ground are achievable with the non-homogeneous soil profile for cooling purposes. It should be noted that the perfor- mance of the homogeneous system is very close to the maximum expected cooling capacity (1500 W) in warmest months of the year for all these cities, which contributes to the marginal improve- ments with a non-homogeneous soil profile. In other words, if the designed ground pipe network was supposed to provide higher energy rates, the percentage increase in energy extraction rates would probably be higher and more pronounced with the non- homogeneous soil profile. It seems reasonable to conclude that use of a non-homogeneous soil profile for cooling-only purposes, in a warm climate, can be more beneficial if a relatively high conductive intermediate layer is employed.

6.2. Annual optimization

The intention behind performing the optimization for each month was to gain an understanding of the key parameters that provide optimal energy rates for the ground pipe and their shorter term variation in different regions. The intermediate layer selec- tion by the optimization algorithm was performed to provide a basis for comparing the ground pipe performance each month versus the results of annual optimization presented in this sec- tion. After performing the analysis for each month and gaining knowledge of the relationship between selected variables, mod- eling was focused on finding the optimal values of the inlet fluid temperature and the configuration of the intermediate layer year- round. This approach provides the designer with the optimized working fluid temperatures and intermediate layer’s configura- tion which yields maximum annual energy extraction/dissipation rates in each season. One of the most important findings from the monthly simulation results was that the two dominant choices for the intermediate non-homogeneous layer were TDA and saturated sand, the two intermediate material with lowest and highest ther-

mal conductivity. Although the selection of the antifreeze solution

is mandated by the pipe characteristics, pressure drop calculations

and other site specific considerations, the working fluid proper- ties was set to 13% propylene-glycol and water mixture for all the annual runs. This working fluid property was the most dominant choice of the GA search in the monthly optimization to achieve

maximum energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. Given that the TDA material can be implemented practically as

a value-added passive design with non-homogeneous soil profile

for the ground pipes, the annual optimization simulations were limited to the use of TDA. After obtaining the optimized values of the entering fluid temperatures and TDA layer configuration, the energy extraction/dissipation rates were calculated for heating and cooling seasons. Energy extraction/dissipation rates were cal- culated for a non-homogeneous profile with saturated sand layer

with the same optimized operational parameters achieved for TDA to compare the annual results. This approach provides a base to compare the difference between the energy harvesting rates from the ground with the two choice intermediate material in identical operational conditions.

Table 7 Optimal values of working fluid temperature and TDA configuration from annual GA simulations for Buffalo, Dallas and Miami (to be used as annual design values).

Parameter

Buffalo

Dallas

Miami

T f,i min ( C)

2.3

2.7

T f,i mean-heating ( C)

7

23.5

Thickness, b (m) Position, d (m)

0.5

0.5

0.8

0.3

0.4

0.4

T f,i max ( C)

45.7

52.6

73.0

T f,i mean-cooling ( C)

31.7

29.6

55.0

Results from the annual simulations are presented in Tables 7 and 8. The values of TDA thickness and position and the operating fluid temperatures in Table 7 were obtained by running the optimization for the entire year, so these values should be used as the annual design values that maximize the energy extrac- tion/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The reported energy extraction/dissipation rates in Table 8 are the average values for each season. The upper and lower limits for the values of the work- ing fluid temperatures were chosen to cover the below freezing point temperatures in heating season as well as high temperatures in cooling season. The introduction of the broad range of temper- ature values to the search algorithm was intentionally made to utilize the capacity of the search algorithm to find the optimal solu- tion in a bigger space of design options. Although some of the higher temperature values might not be in the common practice range for the ground pipe design, the goal of this research to explore the potential new design options for the ground pipe has ruled the need for keeping the upper limits higher than the common working fluid temperature ranges. The aim of this study has been to explore the options for the ground pipe design with new initiatives that have not been considered before, yet require further investigation. Interesting observation from the optimization results for the max- imum and average working fluid temperature is that the search for the optimal working fluid temperatures has resulted in values that are considerably higher than the common upper range design val- ues (approximately 35 C). These findings can be a starting point for investigating new ground pipe technologies that are capable of delivering higher temperatures from the ground to achieve optimal energy extraction rates. Nonetheless, the practical aspects of imple- mentation of the higher working fluid temperature values requires further investigation. The percentages in Table 8 refer to the percent increase in the energy extraction/dissipation rates compared to the homogeneous soil profile with TDA or saturated sand layers. The obtained opti- mized temperature values and intermediate layer configuration for TDA were used to run the homogeneous and saturated sand scenarios for comparison. A comparison between the Buffalo annual energy extrac- tion/dissipation rates shows 15.7% and 7.6% higher rates with TDA layer versus the homogeneous case, in heating and cooling seasons, respectively. A similar comparison for Buffalo shows 2.1% and 1.2% lower performance for saturated sand versus the homogeneous case, in heating and cooling seasons, respectively (Table 8). The corresponding values for Dallas with TDA are 3.8% and 3.5% higher

Table 8 Values of seasonally averaged energy extraction/dissipation rates in heating/cooling season for Buffalo, Dallas and Miami.

Parameter

Buffalo

Dallas

Miami

Heating

Cooling

Heating

Cooling

Cooling

TDA energy (W) Sat. sand energy (W) Homog. energy (W) % TDA % Sat. sand

324

1497

635

1431

1298

274

1375

608

1378

1482

280

1391

612

1382

1456

15.7

7.6

3.8

3.5

10.9

2.1

1.2

0.7

0.3

1.8

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

49

in heating and cooling seasons as compared to 0.7% and 0.3% lower with saturated sand layer in similar seasons (Table 8). For Buffalo, higher energy extraction/dissipation rate increase over the homogeneous profile was observed with TDA layer in heat-

ing than cooling season (15.7% versus 7.6%). Comparing the heating season energy extraction rates over the homogeneous soil profile

in Buffalo to Dallas shows that relatively higher efficiencies were

achievable in Buffalo (15.6% versus 3.8%). The results for Miami (Table 8), on the other hand, suggest a significantly better energy

dissipation rates to the ground with saturated sand as compared to TDA layer (1.8% versus 10.9%) for cooling purposes. However, it

is worth noting that the percentage increase in energy dissipation

rate to the ground (1.8%) with saturated sand is considerably lower than the monthly values obtained for Miami (Table 6). The optimized energy extraction rates with the monthly design parameters obtained from the genetic algorithm deviate consider- ably from the values obtained from the simulations for the entire year. It is harder for the search algorithm to find operational param- eters for the ground pipes that decrease the difference between seasonal energy rates and highest achievable monthly values. This

causes the annual energy rates to be lower than the ones attainable

if the monthly control on the operating parameters (working fluid

temperatures and intermediate layer configuration) was practically feasible. For example, the maximum attainable energy extraction

rate in heating season for Buffalo is 324 W (Table 8) as compared

to maximum obtainable monthly (October) rate of 558 W (Table 6),

a reduction of approximately 40% compared to the monthly value.

A similar comparison for Dallas shows that the average heating

season energy extraction rate of 635 W (Table 8) is approximately 57% lower than the maximum monthly (October) attainable energy extraction rate of 1500 W (Table 6). The cooling season energy dis- sipation rates to the ground in all the cities have considerably lower deviance from the corresponding monthly optimized values.

It is worth raising a discussion regarding the physical phe-

nomenon that leads to the selection of TDA versus saturated sand

in the search algorithm. Conceptually, there is a need for balancing

the amount of heat penetrating the soil surface, mainly from the solar gains and surface heat conduction, and the amount of heat that needs to be extracted/dissipated depending on the season. This balance point, of course, has been altered by the introduction of the intermediate layer in this study which can be translated into more

engineering control on this natural process occurring in the soil. The way this energy extraction/dissipation demand becomes satisfied

is a function of both the physical soil profile as well as the ambient

air temperature and solar radiation variation throughout the year (Fig. 6). The combination of these parameters promotes utilization

of

an intermediate layer, which best serves the heat transfer regime

in

the soil profile. For cities with climatic conditions similar to Buf-

falo, this balance seems to shift toward the need to maintain the stored heat in the bulk of soil at the pipe level, given the lower

amount of heat entering the soil profile from the surface because

of less incident solar energy and lower air temperature. This is the

reason TDA has been selected by the algorithm for cold months in Buffalo. A similar comparison in the cooling season for Miami, from October to April, shows that a higher conductive intermediate layer favors the heat dissipation process from the pipe to the surrounding

soil by letting more heat escape the immediate bulk of soil adjacent

to the pipe. A closer look at the cooling season optimization results,

from May to September, for Dallas and Miami (Table 6), shows that TDA has been selected as the choice intermediate layer. This can be explained as an attempt to maintain the ground cooler by having an overlaying insulation layer so that there is a higher heat flux to the ground from the pipe. Because the intermediate layer configuration can not be adjusted once the system is installed, it is clear that the intermedi- ate layer dimensions that optimize the annual energy extraction

rates are needed for each of these climates as summarized in Table 7. More flexible control on the energy extraction rates in each month can subsequently be obtained via control on the heat pump characteristics. Variable refrigerant flow or multi-stage heat pumps can be designed in conjunction with the desirable intermediate layer properties and configuration to assure the least deviance from the actual monthly building energy demand. Moreover, a detailed analysis of the impact of the geographical variation of soil prop- erties is recommended to be considered in the future studies. The numerical results from the presented analyses in this paper are subject to verification with the expected field data from an exper- imental GSHP facility under investigation by the authors. Authors expect that with the results from their field experiment the respon- sible mechanisms associated with the implementation of the TDA material can be revealed with more evidence, so that alternative materials can be explored, subsequently.

7. Conclusions

A numerical model was developed for the ground pipe of a hor- izontal GSHP with a non-homogeneous soil layer. The model was coupled with genetic algorithm to search for operational param- eters that maximize energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The search algorithm was given a range of working fluid properties, intermediate layer thermal properties, a range of operating fluid temperatures, and the intermediate layer config- uration to search for the optimized energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. The optimization was performed for three cities representing a cold (Buffalo), moderate (Dallas) and warm (Mmiami) climate to evaluate the impact of climate on the opti- mization. Despite different performance achievements with either

a low conductance (TDA) or a high conductance (saturated sand) intermediate layer, a non-homogeneous soil profile demonstrated the potential for increasing the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground. A shift in perspective toward more control

strategies for GSHPs with control on the ground pipe side of the sys- tem is suggested based on the model results. Further investigation

of other attributes of a non-homogeneous system which potentially

can enhance the GSHP’s performance is still required. A summary

of findings are listed below:

A non-homogeneous soil profile exhibited a great potential for enhancing a horizontal GSHP’s pipe performance by increasing the energy extraction/dissipation rates from/to the ground.

TDA demonstrated higher benefits in colder climates by increas- ing the energy extraction rates from the ground in the heating season.

TDA demonstrated a marginal enhancement during cooling cycles due to insignificant difference between achievable energy extraction rates with the non-homogeneous and homogeneous cases.

Saturated sand demonstrated potential for increasing the energy dissipation rates to the ground in warm climate.

The optimized seasonal energy extraction rates from the ground exhibited significant difference (an upper range of 40–60% less) from the highest achievable monthly values in the heating season.

Minimal difference was observed between the cooling sea- son optimized energy dissipation rates and the corresponding monthly values.

Acknowledgments

Partial funding for this research was provided by Empire State Development’s Environmental Services Unit through the New York State Tire Derived Aggregate Program at the

50

A. Rezaei-Bazkiaei et al. / Energy and Buildings 61 (2013) 39–50

University at Buffalo’s Center for Integrated Waste Management:

www.tdanys.buffalo.edu/UB. Authors would like to thank Dr. Ken- neth Fishman and Mr. Louis Zicari from the Center for Integrated Waste Management for their constant support and continuing contribution to this project.

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