The use of geothermal energy, especially near-surface geothermal energy, has become more important in recent years as it provides a stable, sustainable, and climate-friendly option to heat and cool buildings, technical facilities, and even entire neighbourhoods.
Taking into account the geological-pedological conditions as well as the water-legal preconditions, geothermal plants are a technically proven and reliable method for using sustainable energy. While modern systems are showing high reliability, the total efficiency can still be improved. The development and implementation of new materials is a promising way to increase and control the thermal and electrical conductivity, making the near-surface systems more efficient. E.g. nanomaterials can be used to specifically adjust, increase or even locally decrease thermal and electrical conductivity in plastics and other materials. The constant progress in the further development and mass production of nanomaterials including the consideration of gained knowledge in fields of analytics and occupational and environmental safety makes this class of materials a promising candidate to increase the total efficiency geothermal system.
At the beginning, the network NanoGeoTherm will focus on three aspects: 1. Increasing the thermal and electrical conductivity of plastic components, 2. optimising the filling materials for better conductivity and thermal coupling between tube and filler material, and 3. improving the heat transfer fluids.