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Title: A Demonstration System for Capturing Geothermal Energy from Mine Waters beneath Butte, Montana

Executive Summary An innovative 50-ton ground-source heat pump (GSHP) system was installed to provide space heating and cooling for a 56,000 square foot (5,200 square meter) building in Butte Montana, in conjunction with its heating and chiller systems. Butte is a location with winter conditions much colder than the national average. The GSHP uses flooded mine waters at 78F (25C) as the heat source and heat sink. The heat transfer performance and efficiency of the system were analyzed using data from January through July 2014. This analysis indicated that for typical winter conditions in Butte, Montana, the GSHP could deliver about 88% of the building’s annual heating needs. Compared with a baseline natural-gas/electric system, the system demonstrated at least 69% site energy savings, 38% source energy savings, 39% carbon dioxide emissions reduction, and a savings of $17,000 per year (40%) in utility costs. Assuming a $10,000 per ton cost for installing a production system, the payback period at natural gas costs of $9.63/MMBtu and electricity costs of $0.08/kWh would be in the range of 40 to 50 years. At higher utility prices, or lower installation costs, the payback period would obviously be reduced.
  1. Montana Tech of the Univ. of Montana, Butte, MT (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Final report:DOE-MT Tech--EE0002821
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Montana Tech of the Univ. of Montana, Butte, MT (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
Country of Publication:
United States
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION Geothermal; heat pump; ground-source heat pump; GSHP; energy savings; payback; demonstration; commercialization; students; heating; cooling