A Master of Science thesis in Mechanical Engineering by Hanin Atwany entitled, “Performance Analysis of An Earth Water Heat Exchanger in Sharjah”, submitted in November 2019. Thesis advisor is Dr. Mohammad Omar Hamdan and thesis co-advisor is Dr. Bassam Abu-Nabah. Soft copy is available (Thesis, Approval Signatures, Completion Certificate, and AUS Archives Consent Form).
The growing global demand for energy is amplifying the need for the development of sustainable and energy efficient systems. In the Arabian Gulf, cooling load represents about 70% of the overall energy consumed during the peak summer season. While geothermal cooling has been identified as an effective method for reducing the cooling load, the utilization of Earth Water Heat Exchanges (EWHE) has not been given much attention in the Gulf region. The inadequate research and data available on EWHE technology has hindered its adoption for practical use during structural development and building construction in the United Arab Emirates. In order to bridge this gap, this study demonstrates a comprehensive analysis of the performance of the EWHE through evaluating three critical factors: soil properties, vertical ground temperature distribution, and the EWHE design parameters. The properties of soil are being evaluated through lab testing of soil samples. Vertical ground temperature distribution data is collected from two boreholes located in different locations over the course of seven months. A setup mimicking the performance of an EWHE has been built to collect real time data over several planned test runs. Based on the findings of the current experiments and data, a three-dimensional numerical simulation model has been developed using ANSYS Fluent Release 19.1 to investigate the performance of a horizontal EWHE. The experimental study verified the presence of a geothermal cooling potential in the United Arab Emirates. At a flow rate of 0.15 kg/s and water inlet temperature of 340 K, water outlet temperature was lower by 30 K. The numerical analysis indicated the possibility of further enhancing the rate of heat exchanged through imbedding the heat exchanger in a backfill material of higher soil thermal conductivity. Soil properties and temperature data collected, present a valuable input for future geothermal research in the region.