Geothermal energy without drilling

The underground geothermal panels developed by enerdrape turn any below-ground infrastructure into an energy source. This technology – developed exclusively in Switzerland – which captures geothermal energy without the need for drilling could satisfy up to 60% of a building’s heating (or cooling) requirements.

With its underground geothermal panels, enerdrape has come up with a unique and innovative solution for accessing renewable energy sources in urban settings. This can be used for heating and air conditioning in buildings – and it’s right under our feet. “Our drill-free geothermal energy technology can be used in any underground built environment by transforming the walls into heat exchangers,” sums up CEO Margaux Peltier. This is achieved by fitting prefabricated modular panels on the walls of underground structures such as car parks, tunnels and underground railway installations to capture geothermal energy and waste heat. The system is connected to heat pumps that transfer the heating or cooling effect to building interiors. The panels are attractive and easy to install and work regardless of the ambient temperature. 

A pilot installation has been running for a year, providing real-world operating data and achieving a heat-production figure of 150 W/m2. “Depending on the building being heated or cooled, one square metre of panel can supply between five and ten square metres of building,” claims Margaux Peltier. A yield that has attracted interest, especially for a system that also has the advantage of producing a constant level of heat both day and night, all year round. This could satisfy up to 60% of a building’s heating (or cooling) requirements.

The technology, protected by several patents in Switzerland, Europe, the United States and Canada, is aimed mainly at the tertiary and collective housing sectors. It is now being produced on an industrial scale and enerdrape is marketing the first generation of thermal panels. The company has set its sights on Switzerland (where the technology has been installed in a car park used by the retail giant Coop) and rapid expansion abroad – in France and Germany, among other countries. It has formed a partnership with a regional installation firm in Switzerland. “We are also developing an extensive network of engineering and general contractors to design site solutions and install our panels,” adds Margaux Peltier. A pilot installation has also been set up in the United States. enerdrape has stated that it intends to grow very rapidly, targeting a three- to five-fold increase in turnover each year.