The role of the underground to realize a zero-carbon UC campus energy system

The role of the underground to realize a zero-carbon UC campus energy system

TGIF Award: $74,850.00

Project Theme: Energy

Project Sponsor: Office of Sustainability / ERSO

Project Description:

UC Berkeley is developing a zero-carbon energy plan to replace carbon emissions from gas-fired co-generation plant with efficient, resilient clean renewable energy. The renewable energy technologies currently being considered include electrified heat pump plant(s), solar photovoltaics, battery storage, thermal storage, geothermal and hydrogen, fuel cells, and carbon capture and storage. This project aims to determine the feasibility of underground heat/cold storage as part of the energy system strategy for meeting the UC carbon neutrality goal as well as advancing the understanding of geothermal as a climate and energy solution in a variety of settings. The project will drill a 400 feet deep borehole near the new Data Science building in the northwest quadrant of campus and conduct various thermal tests. The students will develop a model of the campus energy system and the value of underground heat/cold storage system will be evaluated. On-line display, lecture series and student learning activities will be developed to discuss issues related to environmental justice and underground thermal storage as a solution tool.

Project Goals:

  1. To determine if there is geothermal potential on the Berkeley main campus and to analyze how this renewable source of energy could be used to provide efficiency and resiliency a new clean campus energy system.
  2. To create a living-lab and learning opportunity for the campus community, particularly students, and to showcase UCB’s campus sustainability milestones.

Project Leader(s): Kenichi Soga, Kira Stoll and Sally McGarrahan

2021 TGIF Spring Application