NexGen Energy vs. Drilling: What’s the Difference?

There are two ways to install a “vertical” loop field.  You can use heavy drilling equipment (horizontal or vertical), or you can use the NexGen Energy loop installation system.  The NexGen system is installed a in a “radial” pattern looks like the frame of a tepee under your basement (see more here), so it isn’t actually a “vertical” system per say.

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The primary difference between traditional drilling methods and the NexGen system lies in how the bore hole is formed. Traditionally drilling methods use their drill rig to bore a hole into the ground. The drill is then removed from the hole being held open with drill mud. Then when a drill bore hole is used for a geothermal system, the installer will insert a U-shaped loop into the hole. Since the loop is smaller than the bore hole, the driller will use grout to fill in and seal any gaps.

The NexGen loop installation system is installed with a proprietary air-powered jackhammer in a tube.  The hammer pulls the pipe deep into the ground as it displaces the soil.  Since the hammer is the same width as the pipe that it is pulling, there is no gap to fill in!  This close contact directly with the soil also allows for maximum heat transfer.  Once the hammer has reached the desired depth, a smaller tube is inserted inside the larger tube to create a loop for fluid to flow through.

No matter how the loop field is installed, the loops will connect to a central manifold that a geothermal heat pump will use to cycle fluid through the loops and extract the heat from the ground.  NexGen energy believes that this simplified loop installation method will help make geothermal a more feasible solution for homeowners and expand the reach of the entire industry.

 


For more information on NexGen Energy, visit our home page at www.nexgenenergy.net or check out our YouTube channel!

2 thoughts on “NexGen Energy vs. Drilling: What’s the Difference?”

  1. It looks like this system would form a cone of cold soil under the basement floor, and with all the pipes converging at one spot, that the ground would potentially freeze right under where the pipes co\me into the basement. This would then theoretically cause a frost heave at that point and push the basement floor up in the vicinity of the hole. Seems to me you have to be very careful to size the loops sufficiently large to prevent it from EVER freezing the soil under the hole.

    1. I can definitely see where this might look concerning, but the good news is that there are two primary reasons that this will not be a problem!

      1. Heat Pump Temp Protection: The heat pump can kick off if there is a risk of freezing the loop field and prevent freezing conditions.

      2. Uneven Heat Transfer: The heat does not transfer at the same rate across the entire length of the loop. The transfer will happen where it is easiest for the fluid to exchange heat, which will be where the temperature difference between the fluid and ground is the largest. If the top of the loop gets cold (say 33 degrees), then the liquid will not exchange heat at the top, but rather much lower in the loop where the ground temp is warmer (more like 50 degrees).

      Vertical and horizontal systems typically have a single point of entry into the home (main in and out lines) where this would actually be more likely to occur, but for reason #2, they are ok as well.

      Thank you for bringing this up!

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