Cornell University has unveiled plans to heat the university with geothermal energy.
Cornell's project, called Earth Source Heat, will research technologies for employing geothermal heat on Cornell's campus. The first phase of the project will span the next five years and will involve small-scale testing to heat a few campus buildings. The testing involves drilling a pair of wells that will reach down to a heat reservoir more than two miles below the surface. If these tests are successful, Cornell will expand the experiment to heat all the buildings on campus.
Should this small-scale demonstration project prove successful, Cornell will consider moving forward with plans to install a full-scale system to heat most buildings on the campus. During extremely cold weather, the system would be supplemented with heat from a biomass gasification facility, providing a second source of clean energy. Using local biomass resources, such as wood or nonfood crops, would be more efficient than over-sizing the geothermal system to handle peak-heating loads.
This hybrid system would be the first in the U.S. to combine enhanced-geothermal with a district-heating system capable of distributing hot water from a centralized location to multiple buildings. Domestically, only a handful of enhanced-geothermal sites are under development – and all are currently focused on electricity generation.
More details here.
Source: Cornell University public relations.