The goal of this project is to conduct a feasibility study regarding installing an open geothermal loop underneath the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. The open geothermal loop would take water from one of the many nearby aquifers and only
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ISTC Geothermal Loop (Cancelled)
The kickoff meeting for the ISTC geothermal study was led by Todd Rusk at ISTC on March 9, 2009. The agenda was 1) to discuss the overall project objectives, tasks, and requirements and 2) to begin preparations for drilling the test wells.
The aim of this project is to investigate the possibility of installing an open-loop geothermal system at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC). Open-loop geothermal systems takes ground water pumped through a large diameter pipe and introduces or extracts heat depending on the season. Installing such a system would give the building an opportunity to reduce total building energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 50 percent. This project would also increase awareness of open-loop geothermal systems, which are lesser known than closed-loop systems by installation professionals and the environmental regulatory community. The ISTC would serve as a test building for this project, with the hope that the system could be extended to other campus buildings.
The proposal for this project was accepted by the Student Sustainability Committee. The first phase of the work, which was installing two test wells to determine if there was enough water flow rate capacity, was completed. These test wells showed that the water flow rate was too low. The flow rate was only a few gallons per minute, but tens to hundreds of gallons per minute were needed. For this reason, no more funding was granted and the project did not proceed further. Other potential opportunities for geothermal are being considered on campus.