Introduction

The British Geological Survey (BGS) with support from the Environment Agency (EA) and industry representatives have developed an online GIS tool for assessing the conditions for the installation of open-loop ground source heat pumps (GSHPs). The tool operates at a local and regional scale (500m ground resolution – 1:500000) and is intended as a preliminary screening/assessment tool to understand the potential for a chosen GSHP location. The screening tool maps hydrogeological and economic factors relevant for groundwater open-loop GSHP installations in England and Wales. (Note this is applicable to open-loop systems that require the use of groundwater).

The following link takes you to tool on the BGS website: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/energy/geothermal/gshp.html

What is involved?

The data used in the tool is based on a range of national datasets, collaborators’ information and sourced under an Open Government Licence from Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

The tool consists of five key hydrogeological layers, these are:

  • Bedrock geology;
  • Depth to source;
  • Protected areas;
  • Groundwater quality data; and
  • Existing licensed abstractions.

 

By selecting a location on the map the layers are interrogated and provide the user with a table of information:

BGS GSHP Tool

Detailed discussion on the construction of the tool and its uses are described in a Technical Note published in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology.

User Guides

There are technical and non-technical user guides available from the BGS website and the links below:

Open-loop Screening tool (England and Wales): Technical User Guide

Open-loop Screening tool (England and Wales): Non-Technical User Guide

The GSHP is a useful tool, not only for the purposes of GSHP screening but as a general first pass for most hydrogeological assessments and it will be interesting to see how this develops over time. It is not intended to provide site specific information or a definitive outcome however it does identify where further work is required and more detailed assessment may be required.

H2Ogeo provides a range of hydrogeological screening assessments including GSHPs and welcomes this tool as a starting point for understanding the likelihood of a successful installation and application. More information is available on the H2Ogeo website regarding the services we provide and you can join the Blog here.

References

  • http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/energy/geothermal/gshp.html
  • Mapping suitability for open-loop ground source heat pump systems: a screening tool for England and Wales, UK. Technical Note: 47, 373-380. First published online September 15, 2014, doi: 10.1144/qjegh2014-050. Corinna Abesser, Melinda A. Lewis, Andrew P. Marchant and Andrew G. Hulbert.