Design and performance of energy pile foundations: Precast quadratic pile heat exchangers for shallow geothermal energy systems

Maria Alberdi-Pagola

Research output: PhD thesis

2786 Downloads (Pure)


Ground source heat pump systems (GSHP) are sustainable and cost-effective space conditioning systems based on shallow geothermal energy. A novel way to harvest the energy stored in the ground, is to use foundation piles as ground heat exchangers. Energy piles are standard concrete piles with built in geothermal pipes. Thus, the foundation of a building performs as a structural and a heating/cooling supply element.
This Industrial PhD project investigates the thermal behaviour of energy piles, in terms of pile testing and system sizing, and treats the main thermo-mechanical effects resulted from seasonally heating and cooling the piles. A tool has been developed to assess the thermal dimensioning of energy pile foundations, at a minimal computational cost, which will assist in building more cost-effective installations.
In combination with other renewable energies, shallow geothermal systems based on energy piles have great potential for realising the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources.
Original languageEnglish
Electronic ISBNs978-87-7210-233-7
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

PhD supervisor:
Associate Professor Rasmus Lund Jensen, Aalborg University

PhD co-supervisor:
PhD Søren Madsen, COWI A/S, Denmark, former Assistant Professor at Aalborg University

Company PhD supervisor:
Director Lars Gøttrup Christensen, Centrum Pæle A/S, Vejle, Denmark

Third party supervisor:
PhD Søren Erbs Poulsen, Lector, VIA University College, Horsens, Denmark


  • energy pile
  • ground source heat pump
  • precast foundation pile
  • thermal design
  • thermal response test
  • thermo-mechanical aspects

Cite this