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HARNESSING ON SITE RENEWABLE ENERGY THROUGH PILE

FOUNDATIONS

A. Bouazza, R. M. Singh, B. Wang, D. Barry-Macaulay,


Monash University, Department of Civil Engineering, Clayton, Melbourne, Vic. 3800
C. Haberfield, G. Chapman
Golder Associates Pty. Ltd. Melbourne, Vic. 3121
S. Baycan,
Vibropile Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, Vic. 3150
Y Carden
GeoExchange Pty. Ltd., Sydney, NSW 2060

ABSTRACT
Incorporation of heat exchangers into pile foundations is a relatively novel sustainable technology for the intermittent
storage of energy in soils with a view of utilising it for space heating and cooling of buildings by means of suitable
systems integrated into buildings. This innovative technology can provide not only substantial long-term cost savings in
relation to conventional energy systems but also can make an important contribution to environmental protection by
reducing fossil energy use and minimising the carbon footprint of built structures. This paper reports on an ongoing
project on heat exchanger pile foundations taking place at Monash University. It discusses the basic concept of an
energy pile and governing design parameters such as thermo-mechanical loading and soil thermal properties and
presents the field test set up currently running.
Keywords: environmental geotechnics, foundation design, instrumentation

1 INTRODUCTION
The adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions and rapidly depleting natural energy resources has prompted
governments across the world to identify ways of reducing carbon footprints and increasing the utilisation of
alternative, renewable energy sources. To facilitate this approach, legislations, internationally recognised and locally
introduced, are being passed through governments to ensure that carbon reductions can be achieved in the near future.
Examples of such procedures are the Kyoto protocol, the Climate Change Act 2008 in the UK (Defra, 2008) and
numerous Australian policies such as the Target 2020, the green paper and the white paper. Australian legislations
include alternative energy sources as a key tool in reducing carbon emissions and have specific targets such as the
Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) (Australian Government, 2008a, Australian Government, 2008b). With
new technologies in the field of alternative energy sources being continually developed and the recognition of their
important contribution earned by government organizations and the general public, implementation has recently become
more feasible. It is not surprising that the demand for renewable forms of energy such as geothermal energy is steadily
increasing and is receiving at the same time a considerable amount of interest.
Traditional geothermal energy systems require interaction with kilometre-deep strata of rock, where thermal energy is
much greater and can produce hot fluids to drive turbines for electricity (Preene and Powrie, 2009). Its use is however
weighed down by cost and practicality, a technology that is more suited for larger scale applications. More recently,
encouraging developments are being achieved in the applications of direct use geothermal via ground-source heat pump
systems. These systems show great potential, compared to conventional energy systems, in terms of long-term
sustainability, access, flexibility and economics. Direct use geothermal energy is based on the principle that the subsoil
can be employed as a thermal energy source by using its natural potential and thermal storage capabilities. The benefits
of this environmentally sustainable technology makes it an attractive alternative to conventional heating/cooling
systems, which require larger amounts of input energy and thus lead to increased greenhouse gas production.
Traditionally these systems relied on the use of deep borehole heat exchangers (referred to as closed loop systems),
~100 m or lower, in which a heat transfer fluid is recirculated between the built structure and the boreholes via a heat
pump (Figure 1a) or a horizontal closed loop run in trenches averaging 1.5 m to 2 m deep (Figure 1b). The length and
the width of the trenches are dependent on the size of area requiring heating or cooling. Examples of the application of
the borehole heat exchanger systems include, among many others, The Geoscience Australia building in Canberra
where 352 boreholes were drilled to 104 m depth, the Wangaratta High School in Wangaratta, Vic. (42 boreholes, 93 m
deep), Northland Secondary School in Preston, Vic. (40 boreholes, 65 m deep), and Garden East Apartment in Adelaide
(boreholes 100 m deep).

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Figure 1a. Vertical borehole heat exchanger Figure 1b. Horizontal borehole heat
system exchanger systems

Another variation of the closed ground loop is the closed water loop where a water body (pond, etc.) can be used as a
collector by installing coils of pipe into the water. The coils of pipe are attached to a frame and sunk to the bottom of
the water body. Fluid circulates underwater in a closed system, just as it does through ground loops. The amount of pipe
is dependent on the size of area requiring heating or cooling. Such a system has been installed at the Wooloomollo
Wharves, Sydney Harbour (Figure 2a, 2b) where 88 coils of HDPE pipe, each 100 m long, have been used for space
heating and cooling of a block of 20 residences relying on seawater as a heat source. A similar system has also been
installed in the Docklands precinct in Melbourne, for space heating and cooling of commercial and residential
buildings.

Figure 2a: Closed water loop cage being installed at Wooloomollo wharves.

Figure 2b: Cosed water loop cage immersed at Wooloomollo whaves.

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A subset of the direct use geothermal via ground-source heat pump systems and the focus of this paper is the use of
buried geotechnical structures such as pile foundations to achieve energy efficient space heating and cooling (i.e. heat
exchanger piles) for built structures of various sizes while satisfying load bearing requirements of the underlying
foundation. This paper gives a review of the concept of heat exchanger piles, their applications in various parts of the
world and presents the ongoing field test study carried out at Monash University.

2 BACKGROUND
The IPCC report (2007) indicated that in 2004, emissions from the building sector worldwide including through
electricity use were about 8.6 GtCO2, representing almost a quarter of the global total carbon dioxide emissions. The
situation is not much different in Australia where the building sector was found to be a major contributor to GHG
emissions. It accounted for nearly 25% of national GHG emissions, according to the CIE report (CIE, 2007).
Commercial buildings alone are responsible for approximately 10% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and those
emissions have grown by 87% between 1990 and 2006 (climatechange.gov.au). The CIE report also indicated that the
building sectors contribution to GHG emissions was mainly driven by its use of electricity. Electricity accounted for
about 51% of residential building sector energy demand and the commercial building sector accounted for almost 25%
of total electricity consumption in 2004-2005. The study by CIE also indicated that heating, ventilation and air
conditioning (HVAC) was the major contributor to GHG emissions through its larger use of electricity confirming the
observations made by both the Australian Greenhouse Office (1999) and by consultants GWA (2005, 2008).
The HVAC contribution to GHG emissions is bound to increase in the light of the Garnaut climate change review
which indicated that the main impact of climate change with implications for Australian buildings will be increased
energy consumption due to higher temperature (Garnaut, 2008). The Garnaut review also highlighted the importance of
new technologies in lowering the cost of adapting to climate impacts. One of the areas that the Garnaut Review
identified as an area that will play a direct and significant role in Australias adaptation challenge is the built
environment in the form of climate appropriate building design and more efficient HVAC systems. Ground source heat
pump (GSHP) applications to heating and cooling of buildings have been used successfully for the past two decades
providing both lower energy usage and corresponding carbon emissions than conventional systems (Brettman and
Amis, 2011). However, there has been also a significant increase in the use of building elements such as piles already
required for structural reasons to absorb and transfer thermal energy from and to the ground to improve the thermal
efficiency of buildings (Brandl, 2006, DeMoel et al., 2010)

3 HEAT EXCHANGER PILE FOUNDATION BASIC CONCEPT


A heat energy pile can be defined as a dual-purpose structural element. It utilises the required ground-concrete contact
element to transfer the construction loads to the ground as well as acting as a heat exchanger unit. The energy pile is
similar to vertical bore ground-source heat pump (GSHP) systems. The difference is the pile foundation serves as an
integral support to the super-structure in addition to heating and cooling the built structure. This in turns saves the cost
of installing vertical bores as well as the space required to drill the bore holes. This approach takes advantage of the
thermal storage capacity of the ground. Ground-source heat pump technology is very well established but its use via
geostructures such as pile foundations is relatively a new concept.
The principle is that energy is extracted from (or sunk into) the ground by a fluid, circulating, performed via a ground
source heat pump, in high-density polyethylene pipes (Utubes) mounted inside the reinforcement cage prior to
concreting if it is a bored pile (Figure 3). Other types of piles (CFA, steel, hollow, barrettes) can also be used. Heat
exchange loops are typically tied together with header pipes at the ground surface and connected to the heat pump
system for a building. This system allows the heating of buildings in conjunction with ground source heat pumps during
winter by extracting energy from the ground and/or to transfer thermal energy collected during summer and store it into the
ground to cool the built structure. Furthermore, the system uses a local source of energy (the ground below the building
and within its footprint) and guarantees a secure and rational supply for a least part of the energy needs. This concept is
being extended beyond pile foundations and now heat exchanging pipes are being installed in diaphragm walls,
basement slabs, basement walls and tunnel linings (Brandl, 2006).

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HDPE
pipes

Figure 3. HDPE loops mounted along a reinforcement cage.

4 APPLICATIONS AND EXPERIENCES AROUND THE WORLD


Austria, Switzerland and Germany can be regarded as the pioneering countries that have investigated this technology
for decades. Extensive use of energy geostructures have been featured in Austria. Brandl (2006) reported that more than
25,000 energy foundations (piles, etc.) were in use in Austria with installations dating as early as the 1980s. Two
notable examples are Lot LT24 of the Lainzer tunnel and Uniqa Tower in the centre of Vienna. Both of these cases are
well documented in Brandl (2006) and Adam and Markiewicz (2009). Section LT24 of the Lainzer tunnel employs the
use of energy piles in its side walls. Of the numerous bored piles installed, every third pile was converted into an energy
pile to extract geothermal energy for heating and cooling of railway stations, other administrative buildings and
prevention of frost damage to platforms and bridges. The Uniqa tower is founded on a raft foundation with two
diaphragm walls reaching to depths of 35 m. Energy is extracted for space heating within the building and, as an aid to
conventional systems, to satisfy cooling loads (Adam and Markiewicz, 2009).
Two notable early examples of projects which have employed energy piles in Switzerland are located at the Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the Dock Midfield Terminal Airport at Zurich Airport. The Lausanne
project has also been part of an extensive performance monitoring program, in particular the investigation of the
thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of surrounding soil and the pile thermo-mechanical behaviour (Laloui et al., 2006,
Knellwolf et al., 2011). Conclusions drawn from the investigations reported by Laloui et al. (2006) showed that the pile
strains were of the thermo-elastic type and were more pronounced than mechanically induced strains. Effects were
observed 1m away from the pile shaft. The overall effects of thermal loading on the pore pressures and effective
stresses were found to be minimal. Friction resistance appeared to not be affected by temperature (Laloui et al., 2006).
Of the 440 foundation piles at Dock Midfield Terminal, 300 were converted into energy piles for heating and cooling
purposes (Pahud and Hubbuch, 2007, Laloui et al., 2006). Performance assessment concluded that 85% of the annual
heating demand (approximately 2700MWh/yr) was supplied by the heat pump while a combination of energy piles and
conventional cooling systems was able to meet annual cooling demands (approximately 1200MWh/yr).
Schroder and Hanschke (2003) presented the case of a large geothermal heating and cooling system using prefabricated
reinforced concrete energy pile piping installed in Rostock, Germany for the newly constructed Rostock business
centre. The geothermal heat pump system consisted of an earth temperature probe and energy piles connected to a
geothermal heat processing centre that operated at a low temperature level of about 28-35oC. Costs for the reinforced
concrete energy piles were 40-50% lower than standard geothermal heat exchangers. The system used 264 reinforced
concrete piles connected to a reversible heat pump and provided economical heating and cooling of the business centre.
Before installation of the energy piles, a geothermal response test was conducted in situ and the performance of the
energy pile was found to be 25% higher than a standard geothermal heat exchanger. Katzenbach et al. (2008) reports on
the use of energy piles for the high rise building ensemble Palais Quartier located in Frankfurt which included two
tall buildings and other numerous medium sized structures. 845 piles were used to carry the building loads. 292 of these
piles, 27 to 38 m deep and with diameters varying from 1.5 to 1.86 m, were energy piles mostly located in the areas of
the tall building core. Germany has been quite receptive towards this new technology with the federal government
offering incentives in an effort to promote the ground-source heat pump market.
The installation of thermo active pile foundations has grown exponentially in the UK (Amis et al., 2008). There were
approximately ten times more thermo-active foundations installed in 2008 than in 2005 (Table 1). The reason for this
rise in production is mainly driven by the code for sustainable buildings that requires the construction of zero-carbon
buildings by 2019 (Bourne-Webb et al., 2009).

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Table 1- Number of energy piles built per year in UK (from Knelwolff et al., 2011).
Year 2005 2006 2007 2008
Energy piles per year 150 440 1495 1596
The implementation of the thermo active pile technology in the USA is very limited by comparison to Europe.
Traditionally, reliance was on the use of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) to reduce building energy consumption for
heating and cooling (McCartney et al., 2010). The only well documented case involving energy pile foundations is
reported by Henderson et al. (1999) for 149 room hotel located in New York, USA. It included 198 piles, 26 m deep,
combined with 120 borehole heat exchangers, 42 m deep, located in the car park of the hotel. Henderson et al. (1999)
reported that the piles had a better heat transfer performance than the borehole heat exchangers due to the shielding
effect of the building. A decade later, the USA is experiencing a renewed interest in the use of energy piles as they
have been identified as being a more cost effective solution compared to the use of GSPHs systems (McCartney et al.,
2010).
Countries such as China, Ireland and Japan are also experiencing an increased interest in the use of thermo-active piles
(Hamada et al., 2007, Gao et al., 2008, Hemmingway and Long, 2011, Jalaluddin et al., 2011)

5 MONASH UNIVERSITY FIELD TEST

5.1 MOTIVATION
The geotechnical design of conventional piles is well established and standardised to a certain extent. However using
piles as heat exchangers introduces a new set of parameters, which need to be taken into account in the geotechnical
design of energy piles. Such design requires consideration of temperature-induced changes to soil stiffness and
settlements and an understanding of the interaction between the cyclic thermal loading and the induced stresses and
strains in the pile. In particular, the possible changes in the pile shaft friction (i.e. pile capacity) due to the contraction or
expansion of the pile during cooling or heating. To consider the implications of all of the above factors on the piles
ultimate capacity there is a tendency to increase the design factor safety (by double in some cases) (Bonnec 2009,
Bourne-Webb et al., 2009) resulting in highly conservative designs.
The current study conducted at Monash University is part of an international research effort aimed at obtaining a much
better understanding of the thermo-mechanical effect on piles with the view of reducing the conservative approach
taken so far in the design of energy piles. The study involves evaluation of the thermo-mechanical behaviour of soils,
the thermal capacity of the pile, the built structure heat balance, soil thermal properties and influence of heat transfer on
pile load capacity and shaft resistance. This paper reports on the pile field test currently taking place at Clayton,
Monash University.

5.2 SITE TEMPERATURE PROFILE


To efficiently operate a geothermal energy system, the ground temperature needs to be warmer than the air temperature
in winter and cooler than the air temperature during summer. This requires a relatively constant ground temperature and
knowledge of the magnitude of ground temperature changes for this system to operate efficiently. Preene and Powrie
(2009) indicated that at sufficient depths, where stable ground thermal behaviour is achieved, soil temperature in
summer months will be cooler than that of the surface air allowing heat to be rejected to the ground. Conversely, in
winter the soil below ground will be warmer than surface air temperatures and can be used as a heat source.
Temperature variability below ground is highly dependent on depth due to the heat capacity of the soil and it is also
known that the range of seasonal variation in ground temperature tends to decrease with increasing depth below the
ground surface (Florides and Kalogirou, 2007, Michopoulos et al., 2007, Thomas and Rees, 2009, Wang and Qi, 2008).
In situ temperature profiling was conducted at the pile field test site located at the Clayton Campus, South East
Melbourne. The site consists of 3 m thick clay fill and the Brighton Group materials from 3m onward. The Brighton
group consists mostly of fine to coarse very dense clayey sands and sands. Monitoring of ground temperature variation
(Figure 4) indicates that the temperature of the surface zone (approximately 2 m below ground surface) and, to a lesser
extent, that of the shallow zone (2 m to 4 m) are influenced by short term ambient temperature changes. These
variations begin to diminish upon reaching a depth greater than that of the shallow zone. Beyond 8 m (deep zone)
temperatures are relatively constant (17-18oC) and are unaffected by seasonal temperatures changes making them
suitable for shallow geothermal energy systems. These observations are consistent with the range of temperatures
reported by Cull (2009) for Victoria (15-18oC) and the findings reported by Florides and Kalogirou. (2007) and DeMoel
et al. (2010). However, it is important to stress that these temperature profiles can be affected by the presence of
underground structures such as sewage tunnels, underground and railway tunnels, and garages. These structures tend to

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emanate heat, thus can possibly increase the background temperatures of the surrounding soil mass (Katzenbach et al.,
2008 and Bourne-Webb et al., 2009).

Figure 4. Typical temperature variation with depth recorded at Clayton.


Another factor which must be taken into account in the temperature distribution is the local on-site geology. The
thermal conductivity of the ground, which is directly relevant to the temperature-depth relationship, is sensitive to its
mineralogical composition, density, pore fluid and degree of saturation (Abuel-Naga et al., 2008, 2009). As a result,
there is no constant depth at which all geothermal energy systems should be installed. Rather, factors such as local
geology, climate and even surface cover must be considered in order to help determine a depth at which the ground
temperature is relatively unaffected by seasonal temperature changes and to specify the required length of heat
exchangers needed for the pile foundation. Currently, there is a large ongoing program aimed at quantifying the thermal
properties of selected local soils combining laboratory (Singh and Bouazza, 2010a, 2010b, Barry-Macaulay et al., 2011)
and field testing (see next section)

5.3 THERMAL RESPONSE TESTING (TRT)


As indicated in the previous section assessment of the ground thermal properties is paramount for an accurate design of
a geothermal energy installation especially when it comes to sizing and costing the system. In this respect, in situ
ground thermal conductivity, pile thermal resistance and undisturbed ground temperature are key parameters for a
successful design. Some of these parameters can be determined in laboratory tests but inclusion of site specific
conditions such as groundwater flow and in situ stresses is difficult to implement. Currently there is no testing standard
available to conduct in-situ thermal conductivity of piles and assess their thermal resistance. However, the American
Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE) published a set of recommended procedures for
undertaking formation thermal conductivity tests for geothermal applications (ASHRAE 1118-TRP). This procedure is
popular with the borehole ground loop systems. However, the diameter of a borehole compared to a pile is a lot smaller
and the number of piping loops is also lower. Currently modifications of the testing procedure are being made so that a
thermal conductivity test could be conducted on a pile, focussing mainly on the test duration and initialisation period.
Figure 5 shows the Thermal Response Test (TRT) Unit used at Monash University to carry out the pile thermal
response test. It consists of a computerised logging system, control box, water pump, heating elements and a water
reservoir. There is one outlet and one inlet on the TRT Unit, a manifold is used to reduce the three inlets and three
outlets from the pile loops to the TRT Unit during testing.

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Figure 5. Thermal response testing unit

5.4 FIELD PILE LOAD TEST


Full-scale load test of piles have been used to study soil-pile interaction mechanisms for decades. Reese (1978)
asserted that load tests are performed on deep foundations for two purposes-to prove a design or to gain information on
the interaction between the foundation and supporting soil. The purpose of the Monash field test is to explore the
relationship between the pile behaviour and surrounding soil properties under thermo-mechanical conditions. Although
energy piles have been used extensively in Europe for a number of years, there is very limited information on how
coupled thermo-mechanical loading affects the soil-pile interaction mechanism of an energy pile under full scale
conditions. Various methods of pile testing are available and can generally be split up into two separate types of testing,
dynamic load testing and static load testing. Only static loading was considered for this project due to above ground
constraints and possible damage to sensors and pipes during dynamic loading. Furthermore, with the latter testing
method, more variables are generated which may make the test interpretation difficult.
Conventional static pile load testing involves application of a load and recording the corresponding settlement. It is
performed by providing a reaction to a pile and subsequently using hydraulic jacks to impart an action onto the pile,
thus testing capacity. The testing can be carried out using two different reaction systems which include the use of a jack
reacting against a kentledge or a jack reacting against a steel beam held down by anchor piles. Both systems are
physically and economically demanding, as kentledge systems require large amounts of mass to be transported to the
site and anchor piles require intensive construction activities to be properly fastened. This top down loading approach
does not allow for the end bearing and shaft resistances to be separated in one single test. Previous studies carried out
on field energy piles have utilised the anchor pile testing system (Bourne-Webb et al., 2009), and dead weight of the
building during and post construction (Laloui et al., 2006) to mechanically load the energy pile. Both tests focussed on
ultimate capacity. The current energy pile field test being conducted at Monash University incorporates an Osterberg
Cell (O-cell) static loading system which eliminates the use of anchor piles or reaction systems. Furthermore it focuses
on both shaft friction degradation and ultimate capacity which the other studies have not combined.
The O-Cell is a static form of testing although its application is inherently different to other existing pile load tests (i.e
Statnamic, anchored loading system, etc.). The O-cell is a bi-directional, hydraulic driven, sacrificial loading jack
installed within the test pile. It is capable of creating pressures which subsequently are applied to the pile shaft and base.
The cell is capable of opening or expanding to 150-225 mm and is usually attached to the reinforcing cage that is cast
within the pile. Where the cell is placed determines the testing schedule of the pile. For smaller piles one level of O-Cell
is attached at a depth where the contributions of the shaft and base resistance are balanced. Installation of only one
level of O-Cell means that only the base or shaft resistance can be determined (whichever fails first)-not both. This
problem can be overcome by installing two levels of O-Cells as has been done for this project. The top and bottom O-

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Cells can be loaded open and closed and a resulting shaft resistance obtained, whilst closing the upper O-Cell and
loading the lower O-Cell will result in the base resistance being determined.
The Monash test pile uses two levels of Oesterberg Cells placed in the bottom 6 m of the pile. By using two O-Cell
levels, an accurate independent measurement can be taken for the material within the intermediate section of the pile.
This is done by cycling the loads within the O-Cells to push the central section up and down and observing the reaction
of the relevant strain and displacement gauges with or without thermal loading.
The field energy test pile was installed in December 2010. It is a 600mm diameter bored pile drilled to a depth of 16.1
m in Brighton Group materials. Groundwater was not observed during the installation process. Two levels of O-cells
were installed at 10 m and 14 m depth, thus providing a 4 m long section of the shaft pile (between the two levels of O-
cells), which can be subjected to cyclic loading with or without thermal loading.
The testing and monitoring equipment installed within the pile consists of the following:
Three loops of HDPE pipe (25mm diameter) attached to the pile cage to transfer heating fluid.
10 vibrating wire strain gauges installed between the two O-cells levels and 6 vibrating wire strain gauges
installed above the upper O-cell level.
12 vibrating wire displacement transducers installed within the pile to measure O-cell and pile movement.
All vibrating wire instrumentations were fitted with a thermistor and temperature of the concrete monitored at
various levels.
Two boreholes were also installed at a distance of 0.5 m and 2.0 m from the outer surface of the energy test pile,
thermocouples were installed at 2 m intervals in each borehole to profile the temperature changes with depth (see
Section 3.2) and measure ground temperature during thermal loading. Figure 6 shows the energy test pile setup. Figure
7 shows the pile being installed and the top of the pile after construction was completed.
As part of the project, it was also aimed to reduce the projects footprint of greenhouse gas emissions. For this purpose,
an environmental friendly concrete mix was used to construct the energy pile. This concrete mix contains a 30%
replacement of the GP cement content with Flyash, which can reduce generated CO2 emissions by over 20% compared
to a straight GP cement mix.

Tubing carrying
Heat Pump
thermal fluid
Data
logging
system

Shed/Bunker ~20m
to pile and boreholes
- Ground
Level

Boreholes to
HDPE pipe and measuring ground
vibrating wire temperature during
instrumentation thermal loading
attached to
steel cage
600mm dia.
Bored pile

Upper O-Cell @ ~10m Upper O-Cell


depth

Pile shaft area which


can be tested
independently

Lower O-Cell @ ~14m Lower O-Cell


depth

Pile toe @ ~16m depth

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Figure 6. Heat exchanger pile Test Setup

Figure 7. Heat exchanger pile being installed (left), top of installed pile with HDPE loops and sensors mounts
protruding (right).
The loading sequence schedule included the following: Stage 1: Open upper O-Cell, increase load in lower O-cell
(LOC), hold period to measure time dependent performance (i.e. residual load), follow by several unload/reload cycles.
Stage 2: Open lower O-Cell increase load in upper O-cell (UOC), hold period to measure time dependent performance
(i.e. residual load), follow by several unload/reload cycles, stage 3: alternate loading and unloading of the UOC and
LOC resulting in shear stress reversal in the pile shaft between the two O-Cells. This can be undertaken by pressurising,
for example the UOC, while allowing the LOC to bleed off any pressure caused by the shaft between the UOC and
LOC moving downwards. Once the nominated downward displacement had been achieved, the process can be reversed
by depressurising the UOC then pressurising the LOC while allowing the UOC to bleed off any pressure caused by the
upwards movement of the shaft between the UOC and LOC. This process will be repeated a number of times to
investigate the cyclic loading behaviour of the shaft. The first test was conducted in late July 2011 and results will be
reported at a later stage.

6 SUMMARY
Heat exchanger piles have great potential as an aid in tackling climate challenges and meeting legislation requirements.
They are increasingly used in various part of the world and the benefits and opportunities gained from these experiences
can be adapted and applied to the Australian environment. Further work is needed to shed more light on the
mechanisms controlling the behaviour of energy piles when subjected to cycling heating and cooling. In particular
there is a need to have a better understanding of the thermo-mechanical effects on the deformations and capacity of the
piles. This in turn will lead to the development of proper design guidelines and alleviate the conservative approach
adopted so far. The ongoing project reported in this paper is a step in this direction.

7 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This project is funded by the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund, Golder Associates Pty. Ltd., Vibropile Pty.
Ltd., Geoexchange Australia Pty. Ltd. and Genesis Now. Their support is gratefully acknowledged.

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