A Solar Pond to Boost Heat Production

Click here for synergies

Why small pond might work for GSHP?

For an explanation - Click here:
My indirect pond loop ground source heat pump has yet to join my eco - adventure at my old house.  
It will save money.  The simple payback is less than 15 yrs, which is good for a GSHP retrofit. 
I just don't have the capital, nor a good enough job to get a loan. 
For the lastest design concepts see the GSHP Overview Click Here 
On this page are some initial design concepts, goals and research.

Where did I first see this idea?


SERI  - Don't bother Googling it, lost in antiquity.  Stood for Solar Energy Research Institute.  There's a million of them now, this was just about the first.


The first time America flirted with oil  independence.  I was working my way through college at Dubin - Bloome Engineers, yes, architect with an engineering firm, should probably have told me something.  We were working on the main facilities for the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI)  The newly formed government agency for all alternative energy and energy conservation research and support.  It is now called the NREL, National Renewable Energy Laboratories.

The SERI facility, encompassing the study and developement of solar, wind, PV, thermal, hot water, energy conservation, energy efficent lighting, energy efficent motors, daylighting, insulation and super - insulation right up to aerogel, heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, ice storage, off peak energy storage, battery storage, natural ventilation, indoor air quality, and on and on, it was going to be huge.  The heating cooling system was to be equally HUGE.  An ENORMOUS brine stratified solar pond was going to be built over the entire top of Table Mountain Mesa behind the facility.  It would have dwarfed the local reservoirs and lakes.  You had to if you were trying to capture diffuse solar energy and store it at low temps.  This warm brine would then be run through a heat pump, what is now known as ground source heat pumps, industrial sized.


Well, the Arab oil embargos went away, oil dropped to prices LESS than that for Coke A Cola, the government pulled all funding for SERI, except as a research library, and called it NREL.

The NREL did eventually, actually, recently gain some respect and funding again, however, FUNDING IS STILL A ROLLER COASTER.  Actually, to reduce gov't debt their funding is frozen and will probably be cut.  What can one say but REALLY?  You have to wonder when the ONLY gov't agency tasked with ending our reliance on oil, with a tiny tiny tiny budget, finds it slashed.ep on the chopping block even as energy prices climb ever higher. 

Here's a link to the NREL  Click Here

Solar Hybrid Ground Source Heat Pump

Solar Pond as a Solar Hot Water Collector
Well, the idea of a solar - sun - powered booster for a Ground Source Heat Pump isn't original.  I first saw it 30 years ago, using solar ponds, and you can note by their absence, that didn’t pan out. 


Now a days I’ve seen hybrid GSHP – Solar thermal / Solar boosted / augmented etc. using traditional evacuated tube collectors and in more moderate climates they can significantly decrease the ground loop size, if not overall system cost, which opens up the market more for ground source heat pumps.


So, why am I going to try a solar pond.  Same reason solar ponds were considered 30 years ago, COST!  I’m marginally employed after 20 plus years working OT, and everything is too expensive for me!  Though, I’d love to have a rack of evacuated tube collectors on the roof, I’m an eco-geek at heart I guess. 

Also, I’m aiming for a real SYNERGY here. 

MULTIPLE synergies.... 

1.  Boosting ground source heat pump efficiency.

2.  Providing a use for a not inexpensive maintainence headache.

3.  Using a resource that causes me endless work to maintain, the running water on the property.

4.  Dare I dream, and maybe, as one installer said, in the summer you’ll heat that pond right up if you use it for a g


I might have to modify the concept to work with the physics of water.  Apparently, water is HEAVIEST when it's at 39 degrees.  Hmmm, that explains why the temp. readings I take show the water warmer at the bottom than the top in the winter, actually, about 39 degrees!!!!  Physics, a wonderful thing. 


I was thinking of racking the loop coils on frames vertically, to get better water flow around them.  Now I think lay them in the bottom, maybe with some spacers of some sort, where the water is warmest in winter, coolest in summer.  Then again, I could use them to support an insulating and leaf / trash retaining cover, maybe a reflecting pool - pretty and easy to clean....  WHICH synergy to pursue!