WorldWide Drilling Resource®

38 OCTOBER 2020 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® DOE Invests in Next Generation Hybrid Geothermal Systems Adapted from Information by Melink Solar and Geo, Inc. Based in Milford, Ohio, Melink Solar & Geo, Inc., has been awarded grant funding by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. This funding will allow the company to speed up the research and development of its next generation Hybrid Geothermal HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) System, which uses thermal batteries to store energy. The company is developing a hybrid geo- thermal HVAC system using optimized bore- hole field design and phase change materials (PCM) to reduce costs. Initial research indi- cated the geothermal well field could be re- duced by up to 40% by eliminating boreholes in the center of the well field and by adding PCMs in or around the geothermal loops. Re- searchers hope the hybrid system will reduce installation costs and ultimately, lead to more widespread use of geothermal HVAC sys- tems. According to Steve Melink, company founder and CEO, “Melink is piloting the first prototype at our Net-Zero Energy headquar- ters, and we are now developing next generation prototypes for eventual commercialization. With our third U.S. Department of Energy grant, we are committed to mainstreaming this technology for the benefit of the entire HVAC industry.” The funding is part of an ongoing innovation project with the DOE, which encourages small businesses to advance inno- vation at federal agencies. Melink received the recent funding because its hybrid geothermal HVAC system demonstrated technical feasibility during the first phase of research. The company’s team of engineers, designers, and researchers have worked with the University of Dayton, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and industry partners to design a more cost-effective energy-efficient HVAC system. The two-year funding awarded by the DOE will be used to finalize engineering and early commercialization of this hybrid system. GEO