Alejandro Martinez

2018 Hellman Fellow

Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
UC Davis

Project Title: Enhanced harvesting of clean renewable geothermal energy enabled by soil treatment

Project Description: Heating and cooling of spaces comprises 49% of energy usage in residential homes (US EIA).  Ground-Source Heat Pump (GSHP) systems can harvest shallow geothermal energy that can be readily used for space heating and cooling.  However, current GSHP systems are inefficient in dry and aridic soils that have poor thermal transfer properties.  This poor performance has deterred their widespread adoption.  The purpose of this research is to use a biocementation treatment technique to develop a heat exchanger system with enhanced efficiency.  The Fellowship will let us build a heat exchanger system and perform field trials to assess the gain in efficiency from soil biotreatment.