WellsGeo is a software company that specializes in processing seismic data and derives attributes that help explorationists drill conventional wells. In the past, most small to mid-size exploration companies drilled vertical wells in areas of interest that target Oil & Gas deposits that generally contain 1 or 2 million barrels of oil. These exploration projects were generally onshore and benefited landowners, investors, and various services companies across a wide area of the country, and these wells in some cases produce revenue for decades. However, in the first decade of this century horizontal drilling in conjunction with hydraulic fracking opened very select areas of unconventional oil reserves in which conventional vertical wells were never capable of exploiting. This caused a huge transition in exploration trends that decimated the industry of conventional Oil & Gas exploration by directing almost all of the funding available towards brute force drilling of horizontally gridded wells across entire counties, and these wells deplete rapidly requiring continuous drilling of new wells. This shift in exploration subsequently caused the layoffs of over one hundred thousand people in the conventional Oil & Gas business. Furthermore, this new type of exploration has had billions of dollars’ in investment with questionable profitability, and what profitability that does exist, does not benefit many people or organizations.
If you can’t join them, beat them.
I have been in the business for over 30 years and have seen this industry drill itself into an oblivion time and time again, and while it is good that we are paying two dollars or less for a gallon of gasoline, this is simply not sustainable, nor is it environmentally sound. We must find new, clean, and sustainable ways to reduce our energy consumption and preserve our way of life. The move towards green energy solutions is here to stay and it is time for each of us to do our part. Affordable housing with affordable energy usage is an area that can benefit all today as well as in the future. And with the world continuing to warm, keeping cool without using hydrocarbons is an area that deserves much attention.
Regardless of where you stand on the cause of climate change there is very little doubt that the climate has warmed over the last several decades and if you live in the Southeastern zone of the US you certainly know the cost of keeping your home at a reasonable temperature is significantly higher during spring through fall. Electric utility cost in the peak summer months can easily exceed 350 dollars for a single month on an average size home. Over the last decade there has been a push to move towards renewable energy such as wind and solar power to augment electrical usage, but in the Southeastern zone there is simply not enough wind to allow wind power to have any meaningful impact on the average person’s electrical usage, so that leaves solar panels as the only way to economically make a difference on renewable energy usage.
A 5 Kilowatt solar system including batteries can easily power the average households energy needs for their electronics, refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, and lighting, but when it comes to controlling the climate of your household, this solar battery system would not provide enough energy required by a single 12000 BTU window air conditioning unit for the duration of a single hot summer night without straining the batteries to the point of damage. If a system could be developed that could maintain a reasonable temperature within the average home that uses a fraction of the energy of the current methodologies, it may be possible to have a household that would be a true off grid solution and would require little to no augmentation of electrical usage from the grid or backup power generation.
Affordable Geothermal Climate Controlled Off Grid Housing
Fortunately, there is access to an unlimited supply of climate control, and it is located right beneath your home in the form of geothermal energy. Depending upon your location, the earth maintains a constant temperature from 55 to 72 degrees just a few feet under the surface. Geothermal heating and cooling is not a new idea and has been utilized by hybrid HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems that transfer heat to and from the earth by using the ground through heat exchangers and compressed refrigerant gasses utilizing compressors, blower motors and or circulation pumps. However, these systems are significantly more expensive and only improve the efficiency of conventional HVAC systems.
What is needed is a new approach for internal climate control that eliminates the energy guzzling compressors, pumps and environmentally questionable refrigeration gasses and essentially only uses a blower motor to circulate air within your home through underground ducts. In many engineering challenges inverting the problem at hand often yields a paradigm shift in efficiency and we think we have an inverse solution to this big challenge. All HVAC system uses a working gas / liquid to transfer heat from the ductwork in your house via two heat exchangers to either the atmosphere outside, the ground, or even shallow ground water. What if you made the earth itself the only heat exchanger by passing the air in your home through a gridded system of submerged ducts?
Figure 1 above shows the basic theory of using a blower motor to push air through a submerged series of aluminum ducts that essentially transfers the heat from inside your house directly to the ground and removes excess humidity as well. This system would only have one moving part which would be the blower motor and would be a 12-volt DC motor that is more efficient than conventional alternating current blower motors.
The simplistic cross section view above only shows the basic theory, but Figure 2 below shows the top down view which would require a proper amount of actual duct work that would need to have enough air volume relative to the internal volume of the house that you are attempting to cool and allow the earth to absorb the heat and humidity directly from your home.
Our proposal is to construct a dwelling of approximately 900 Sq Ft utilizing a 5 Kilowatt solar system with matching battery storage with no connection to the grid and engineer the solutions required to never allow more than a 40% drawdown of the battery system. The test site would be in the Piney Woods of Houston County Texas, in which the sweltering humid summers would be an ideal test. A wood burning fireplace would be used with a 12 volt blower system to capture the maximum amount of heat used to warm the dwelling during excessive cold periods in December and January. A pier and beam construction with R-30 insolation in the walls, floor, and ceiling, with Hardy plank siding and a highly reflective white metal roof. The goal would be to have telemetry available on a website of various temperature measurements from external, internal, and submerged duct work as well as telemetry from the solar and battery systems. Documentation on the cost as well as the inventory of all materials used, blueprints and any custom hardware manufactured would also be available on the Website and we wish to share with the world all that we have learned in the quest to achieve personal energy independence.
While an off grid solution that operates completely off solar power would be a fantastic achievement, appliances such as stoves, ovens and clothes dryers require wattages from a battery bank that’s costs are beyond affordability for the average person, but eliminating the significant cost of maintaining a comfortable climate in your home is a huge step in the right direction towards utilization of renewables and as battery storage costs come down as well as the price of solar panels in the future, these challenges can be economically met. So, for now to maintain an affordable off grid solution, certain aspects of our daily lives still require internal combustion and that is why certain propane appliances must be factored into this project.
The Oil & Gas industry has been an extremely bumpy ride, and we wish to move away from it and the world is looking for green solutions and this is our attempt at producing one, so please help us transition WellsGeo to a new path of Geothermal Climate Control and affordable housing. We think we can provide this pilot solution for 100,000 dollars or possibly less and feel that we can contribute the knowledge gained from this endeavor and help build a better future for the world via affordable climate controlled off grid housing. Once the R&D phase is over we would like to have a solution that has a material cost that is much less and a solution to retrofit existing homes to help beat the heat.
If you would like to help, we created a GoFundMe account at: