A renewable energy source company has developed a technology that could see heat from underground parking lots used to warm the buildings above them.
Enerdrape, a cleantech spin-off of the Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL), creates renewable energy sources that can be used in new and existing building structures.
The technology the company is currently trialling uses geothermal wall panels to recover heat from the soil in an underground carpark. The test is being conducted at a parking lot owned by Realstone in the Lausanne’s Sébeillon district in Switzerland.
Approximately a third of Switzerland’s energy use every year is consumed by heating.
CEO of Enerdrape, Margaux Peltier, worked on the technology with her two co-founders for two years. In a video discussing the process, she says they realised there were lots of underground environments that have the potential to capture renewable heat.
The panels function as a heat exchanger to capture both heat located in the soil and ambient energy. A heat pump then circulates the energy to the building above.
It is estimated that in the test environment they will be able to supply around 60 apartments with a third of their energy needs.
Director at Realstone Alberto Simonato says they will consider installing the panels on other properties they own, if the panels prove to be as effective as expected.
Further, if the technology is successful, the team aims to expand it beyond parking lots. Enerdrape hopes to use the clean heating technology in other underground buildings, such as train stations and tunnels.
Peltier says the team’s research indicates that the panels can also work effectively when they have a more rounded shape.