DOE invests in geothermal heat pumps
The U.S. Dept. of Energy has announced that nearly $50 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act will be spent on the expansion, testing, and certification of geothermal heat pumps.
Nearly $50 million from the American Reinvestment and
Recovery Act (ARRA) will be used to enhance the
production of geothermal heat pumps, according to U.S. Dept. of Energy secretary Steven Chu .
Geothermal pumps, which take energy from the surface of the
Earth in order to move heat both in and out of buildings, are more efficient
than the air-source pumps that tend to be found in commercial buildings. The
efficiency is based on the pumps' ability to reduce the electricity demand of a
structure while also lowering the cost of utility bills. An increase in
geothermal pumps also may lead to the creation of new jobs and reduce
dependency on fossil fuels.
The investment by ARRA will be used in three primary areas. The
first, innovative technology demonstration, will be a series of demonstration
project that use at least 50 tons of heating and cooling capacity in various
weather conditions and climate zones. The second area is lifecycle cost tools, which
will help in figuring out the possibility of a project by bringing together and
looking at different data related to cost, performance, and installation. The
final one is national certification and accreditation, a program for educating
and certifying workers in the geothermal heat pump industry.