ITER test site in Eltersdorf: horizontal collectors and soils

ITER test site

The ITER test site for horizontal collector systems was realized in Eltersdorf, near Erlangen, Northern Bavaria (Germany), during November 2015.

Thanks to the common efforts of ITER partners (the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-FAU, the REHAU AG & Co company, the Fischer Spezialbaustoffe GmbH) the ITER test site is ready!

REHAU provided five special forms of horizontal collector systems (i.e. helix systems). Characterized each by a length of 3m, at first they have been installed at a depth of 0.6-1 m below the ground level. Then a 2 cm isolation panel isolates each sector from its neighbors. Finally the entire test site was surrounded by a thermal isolation plate with the same thermal properties.

Thermally enhanced backfilling material (TEBM)

In less than a week the trenches have been filled in with 5 different materials. In detail we used sand, sandy clay and loamy sands, as pure or mixed materials. We prepared several environmental friendly mixtures using different percentages of natural and /or commercial material. In this way we can verify if is it possible to enhance the heat transfer of the ground surrounding the horizontal collector systems. Probably we can also affect directly the ground physical – thermal properties (i.e. moisture content, mineralogical composition…). Moreover, the thermally enhanced backfilling material (TEBM), used on site, will be also tested in laboratory.

Data monitoring

Since we want monitor the ground behavior over time, there are temperature sensors inside (3) and outside (3) each helix. Therefore, we can monitor the temperature variations induced by the horizontal collectors when in operation. Moreover, the direct automated acquisition of climatic data and helix technical parameter constitute a valuable data set. Especially relevant, these records are important for validating numerical model simulations of coupled TEBM and horizontal collector systems. Hence, we can assess the performance of the system over time.

So, now we are really ready to start!

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