TWISTER changes game in geothermal drilling

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Cost. It might be the biggest prohibitive factor when selling and installing geothermal systems. And drilling is one of the largest incurred costs for the installing contractor. But what if you could lower your drilling costs by decreasing the depth of your vertical boreholes? High population areas dictate the use of vertical borehole installations, and a typical install might require three tons or 10 kW of thermal capacity, which can require up to three boreholes of up to 300 feet in depth (needs vary by installation).Drilling these boreholes is a significant amount of the installation cost of these systems. Any technology to reduce this cost increases bottom line profits for installers.  

Perfection Contracting’s main business is geothermal.

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Cost. It might be the biggest prohibitive factor when selling and installing geothermal systems. And drilling is one of the largest incurred costs for the installing contractor. But what if you could lower your drilling costs by decreasing the depth of your vertical boreholes? High population areas dictate the use of vertical borehole installations, and a typical install might require three tons or 10 kW of thermal capacity, which can require up to three boreholes of up to 300 feet in depth (needs vary by installation).Drilling these boreholes is a significant amount of the installation cost of these systems. Any technology to reduce this cost increases bottom line profits for installers.

Agreenability, a creative product design business, develops innovative components and technology for geothermal heat pumps, which is centered on a new design for high efficiency piping for these ground source heat pumps. For use in residential and commercial geothermal heating and cooling applications, the patent-pending TWISTER (Twisted Pipe) system represents a vertical bore heat exchanger technology, which allows the simultaneous installation of four loops in a single vertical bore for greater efficiency and lower cost. The product is unique because it takes greater advantage of heat transfer and heat capacity of the soil.

Here comes the Twister

Antonio Poccia, owner and operations manager, Perfection Contracting, Newton, N.J. and partner with Rob Jensen of Agreenability, swears by TWISTER. With just less than 30 employees, Poccia’s business consists of HVAC installation, plumbing, and service and repair, but his main business is geothermal, so he is always on the lookout for savings when it comes to geothermal installations and he recognized the benefits of the Twister immediately. For example, at the “Non” residence in Paramus, N.J., Poccia installed a 5-ton geo system retrofit where the crew drilled just two 300-ft. bores.

“TWISTER has the potential to reduce drilling depths by as much as 30% and on this project we saved the customer $3,000 on the front side. The lower the up-front costs, the higher the return on investment for the customer,” said Poccia. TWISTER produces much better heat transfer than regular piping. “With TWISTER, we see more heat exchange from the same bore hole,” continued Poccia.

“This is a significant improvement for geothermal heat pumps,” said Robert Jensen, TWISTER’s innovator and Agreenability president/CEO. Geothermal heat pumps are eco-friendly and use ground temperature to heat and cool buildings. Through the completion of this work, contractors and well drillers, initially in New Jersey and surrounding markets, can reduce the cost of installing a geothermal loop field by 20% and cut by 30% the amount of drilling required. Additional reductions are possible depending upon geology and design. “TWISTER uses standard methods for installation,” Jensen added.

Since TWISTER uses standard methods for installation, there are no complications surrounding warranties, state/association approvals, or learning new installation techniques.  In addition, as an incentive to promote early adopters, Agreenability is seeking qualified design/installation companies to participate in its Preferred Partnering program. Those firms joining in the program will enjoy a select status, special pricing, and gain hands-on experience to help put them ahead of the competition.

Development of TWISTER was conducted over 2 ½ years. Studies were done in an in-situ borehole test to evaluate and compare the thermal responses of the TWISTER design and a standard 1¼” HDPE single loop well completion.

TWISTER uses ¾” ASTM D3035/D3350 Cell Classification 445574C SDR 11 or 13.5 HDPE (IGSHPA Requirement) pipe spirally wound around a central 2” pipe used to guide the Tremie pipe.  It is delivered on reels or in coils, and factory prepared u-bend fittings means that Twisted pipe heat exchangers can be slipped down the hole like a conventional u-bend loop.  As a result, there is no extra fieldwork to install Twisted pipe systems.  Twisted pipe geothermal heat exchangers uses pipe that conforms to ASTM D3035 (sizing) and meets or exceeds material requirements of ASTM D3350 with a Cell Classification of 445574C; meeting or exceeding IGSHPA manuals requirements.

Agreenability is a “green” company headquartered at the Business Accelerator at Bergen Community College in New Jersey.

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