Drilling

HeatSpring’s partnership with National Driller Magazine is intended to bring in-depth training to the most progressive and forward thinking drillers in the industry.

Key Application for Microgrids: Oil & Gas Pipeline Protection from Corrosion

At first glance, it may seem as though the petro-chemical industry and the renewable energy industry are mutually exclusive. However, this is not the case. In fact, there are several areas where the former can benefit the latter. Of great significance, microgrids, a renewable energy technology, can protect buried oil and gas lines from corrosion.
The Problem: […]

Life Cycle of a Vertical Drilling Fluid

In this article, Brock Yordy, columnist for National Driller, outlines the life cycle of drilling fluids from creation to disposal. Brock teaches Drilling Fluids Management, a 6-week master class for industrial drilling companies.
Drilling fluids management is a term interpreted differently depending on the drilling project and local regulations. The proper interpretation of drilling fluids management is […]

By |August 13th, 2015|Categories: Drilling|Tags: , , |

John Siegenthaler Reviews Heat Pumps

In the article below, John Siegenthaler, Principal of Appropriate Designs, explains how air-to-water heat pumps offer new opportunities for hydronic pros. At the end of the article, John runs the numbers to answer the question: “How does the performance of an air-to-water heat pump compare to that of a geothermal heat pump?”  John teaches two […]

Two Things I Learned at the 2012 IGSHPA Conference

On Tuesday October 2nd we hosted an evening program titled, “How to Make Money in Renewable Energy” for 45 brave souls who traveled to Indianapolis for the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Conference.

These were the panelists:

Allan Skouby, GeoPro – manufacturer of thermally enhanced grout.
Steven Hamstra, Greensleeves – engineer, designer + manufacturer of packaged […]

[Interview] Learnings from Ball State and the Largest Geothermal Project and What It means for Selling District Heating Geothermal

A few months ago, I heard about the largest geothermal heat pump installation was breaking ground at Ball State University. Clearly, this is amazing project that could change the whole industry. Also, I always noticed PR for huge solar PV projects and knew that we needed to get out the world about ground source. So, I wrote an article in Climate Progress about the project.

Jo Ann Gora, the president of Ball State University, reached out to Joe Romm, the editor of Climate Progress to thank him for the piece and he forward it to me.

I reached out Ms. Gora wanting to understand more intimately how the decisions was made within Ball State to under take such a large project that a huge accomplishment on so many levels. I wanted to learn a few things

 I wanted to understand their buying process and internal decision making. As an industry, if we can start to understand how large institutions, like Ball State, invest ~60 million dollars into geothermal, we’ll be able to sell more projects.
I wanted to understand if there were any issues that almost killed the project within Ball State.
Lastly, I wanted to learn what they learned about the technology and if there were any technical bottlenecks that almost killed the project.

I spoke with Ms. Gora for about 20 minutes, I also spoke with Jim Lowe who is the Director of Enginneering, Construction and Operations at Ball State.

Here’s my conversation with Ms. Gora

Q: What was the inspiration behind the project? Was someone pushing it within the university or was it advised to your by an outside engineering firm?

A: It’s a really great story. In December of 2005, our board approved the purchased of boiler equipment and to sell bonds to finance the project. So, we were going with a traditional system and we had received authority to release bonds to replace our existing equipment.

We were going down this route and what we discovered, when we completed the sale of the bond, 2 years later, is that prices for the original equipment had gone through the roof. We no longer had enough money. Also, due to the size of the project, we were going to have to buy the parts from outside the US. We were getting a hard time getting bids and we didn’t think we could get a competitive price. So, it forced us to ask ourselves if there was alternative and better way.

We’re a university and we figured we’re going to be around for another 100 years, so we started talking to a lot of people about alternatives, something that would be really sustainable.

Being aware that fuel prices are volatile, that the push for energy efficiency was really, and not liking the idea of spending the money outside of the US, we started asking ourselves internally if there is a better way.

We turned to our Senator, and he arranged a call with NREL and Oakridge Laboratory and they put us in touch with top geothermal experts. They told us that only recently had the technology matured to a point where you could heat and cooling many buildings, and not just one.

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