A new innovation project with Amberg Engineering: ventilation systems

© 2022 iStock

© 2022 iStock

Energy geostructures are an innovative way to produce renewable heating and/or cooling energy for our cities. They can be used in a variety of installation settings including within existing road and rail transportation tunnels.

To date, studies have focused on the thermal behavior of energy tunnels including our research at the CEVA railway line in Geneva, however, ventilation systems often represent a major environmental and economic factor in the tunnel construction and operation due to their energy consumption. By understanding how they influence and interact with heat exchangers, there is the potential to optimize and exploit existing systems more efficiently.

The Laloui Group, together with Amberg Engineering Ltd., a leading engineering provider in underground infrastructure and a specialist in civil engineering and ventilation, have just secured funding to explore such interaction. Funded through Innosuisse the new project will investigate for the first time the potential of the interaction between the geothermal and ventilation system to enhance the already proven benefits of energy tunnels as renewable energy providers.

Sofie ten Bosch from the Laloui Group is the Project Manager and main researcher exploring the influence of ventilation on energy geostructures over the next year, but she won’t be working in any tunnels or handling heat exchangers just yet. “It'll be completely computer-based modeling at this stage because it's not very easy or feasible to run this type of test in a real-life situation,” she explains. “Firstly, you need access to an energy tunnel and a ventilation system that's perfectly engineered and then there are so many variables to be explored, therefore doing a numerical study first will allow us to see if there is actually any potential to optimize the system.”