Thermodynamic optimization of ground heat exchangers with single U-tube by entropy generation minimization method

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-139
Journal / PublicationEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


This paper investigates thermodynamic performance of borehole ground heat exchangers with a single U-tube by the entropy generation minimization method which requires information of heat transfer and fluid mechanics, in addition to thermodynamics analysis. This study first derives an expression for dimensionless entropy generation number, a function that consists of five dimensionless variables, including Reynolds number, dimensionless borehole length, scale factor of pressures, and two duty parameters of ground heat exchangers. The derivation combines a heat transfer model and a hydraulics model for borehole ground heat exchangers with the first law and the second law of thermodynamics. Next, the entropy generation number is minimized to produce two analytical expressions for the optimal length and the optimal flow velocity of ground heat exchangers. Then, this paper discusses and analyzes implications and applications of these optimization formulas with two case studies. An important finding from the case studies is that widely used empirical velocities of circulating fluid are too large to operate ground-coupled heat pump systems in a thermodynamic optimization way. This paper demonstrates that thermodynamic optimal parameters of ground heat exchangers can probably be determined by using the entropy generation minimization method. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Entropy generation minimization, Ground heat exchanger, Ground-coupled heat pump system, Second-law-based analysis, Thermodynamic optimization