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Works Started at the GEOFIT University of Galway Pilot

Construction started in early September at the lawn of the Alice Perry Engineering Building at the North Campus of the University of Galway (formerly the National University of Ireland Galway) after a long process that comprised an extensive analysis and design of the dual source OCHSNER heat pump providing hot water to the University Swimming Pool. Finally, the University Management Team (UMT) backed a proposal to fund the GEOFIT pilot based on the alignment with the University Sustainability Strategy and the aggressive 51% decarbonisation targets of the Galway decarbonisation zone. The University sees this pilot as an opportunity to attract more students to our Graduate and Postgraduate Engineering degrees on campus and as a research laboratory due to the innovative data acquisition equipment that GEOFIT will install.

Figure 1 – Drilling in operation in the Alice Perry Building Lawn. 20th Sept 2022 and two simultaneous drill rigs and two gravel back-filling of boreholes

The Galway City Council granted the planning permission on April 14th. The planning application included a thorough site investigation using radar technologies, a hydrogeological assessment, and a NATURA impact assessment. The River Corib is one of the NATURA 2000 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and a Natural Heritage Area.

A single contract was awarded in late August 2022. In September 2022, the site works started on the Alice Perry Building Lawn. This works consists of 17 production single loop boreholes plus 2 additional monitoring boreholes used for geological characterization and long-term temperature monitoring of the underground. Different mechanical and electrical subcontractors have been appointed to deal with the plant room at the Alice Perry Building, the rooftop unit (air source), the swimming pool integration, and the BMS system.

Figure 2 – Cores retrieved by Geological Survey Ireland

The site works are going at a good pace with the use of two drilling rigs and the collaboration of the Geological Survey Ireland core drill rig, which will recover 150 m. depth of rock core for the national database. We expect the site will progress at a good pace during the 16 weeks programmed schedule and start supplying the swimming pool with hot water during the upcoming winter.