Monday, December 3, 2012

Geothermal Energy Keeps Turkeys Comfortable And Saves Farmers’ Money

University of Missouri, USA, professor uses geothermal energy to keep live turkeys comfortable during both cold and hot weather. It is intended to reduce utility costs while improving the air quality for turkeys. In the system continuous loop of pipes are buried horizontally few feet beneath the soil surface with liquid circulating in it. At this level the soil temperature remains fairly constant at around 55 to 65 degrees F throughout the year. In winter, the water in the pipes transfers the earth’s heat into the building and in summer, the circulating water brings cool air into the building, transferring heat back into the ground.

The installation and maintenance cost will be cheaper than other conventional geothermal systems which have vertical structure. Geothermal energy also doesn't generate any greenhouse gases and is independent on wind or sunlight. In the future, the system will use an artificial wetland above the buried tubes to further insulate them.

“This is our first prototype of a geothermal system in a commercial livestock operation,” said Yun-Sheng Xu, associate research professor in civil and environmental engineering. “Our first set of performance data suggests that farmers could cut their heating costs in half at current propane prices. Currently, two units are installed at the test farm.

“Similar systems could be installed in other livestock operations,” Xu said. “It might work better in a chicken house, since they use solid walls as opposed to the curtains used to enclose turkey barns. Pig-and-cattle-rearing facilities could benefit from the inexpensive hot water produced using a geothermal system. The system also could be scaled down to keep a doghouse comfortable in the backyard.”

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