Danish company re-introduces piles that harness geothermal energy
One answer to the increased demand for renewable
energy lives right here in the piling industry.
A Danish manufacturer of precast concrete
foundation piles is using “energy piles” that use
geothermal energy to help heat and cool the buildings they
hold up. Jonas Henriksen, sales engineer for Centrum Pæle
A/S, says that the technology has been around for decades,
but a new dimensioning tool and the call for more sustainable
building practices has inspired the company to relaunch the
product in earnest.
“Geothermal energy is the second most abundant source
of heat on earth, after solar energy. Energy piles are the perfect
opportunity to combine mechanical stability with energy
supply. As we see it, this is a great way of harvesting energy
and storing it efficiently,” said Henriksen.
What are energy piles and how do they work?
Energy piles are precast concrete piles with PE tubes cast
inside them. The PE tubes serve as ground source heat
exchangers by circulating fluid through them when connected
to a heat pump. Their efficacy is twofold: they’re able to
transfer the load from construction into the bearing layer
and exchange heat with the soil.
They’re usually installed using soil displacement techniques
or soil excavation systems. With increasing energy costs and
the introduction of greater renewable energy requirements
for new buildings, energy piles are becoming more and more
Typical energy piles come in dimensions from 30 centimetres
by 30 cm up to 45 cm by 45 cm, in lengths from seven to 18
metres. To allow connection with tubes outside of the precast
By Heather Hudson
IMAGES: CENTRUM PÆLE A/S
PILING CANADA 25