Cornell – Verizon Wireless Geothermal

Cornell-Verizon Geothermal

This was a research project that was run by Prof. Jeff Tester at Cornell. Verizon Wireless was interest in exploring the use of ground source heat pumps to replace the air conditioners on the equipment shelters at the cellular towers.

AC units are big energy hogs and high maintenance as well. A ground source heat pump uses a geothermal loop in the ground to enable ground-to-air cooling instead of air-to-air that the AC uses. Heat pumps are very efficient and reliable and require virtually no maintenance, but installing the loop in the ground is a significant expense.

Our project was to do an engineering analysis and determine whether the geothermal technology would work throughout the country in different climates since Verizon wants standardized solutions they can use anywhere.

Our results found that the geothermal would work. Later on Verizon went ahead and constructed a test geothermal unit on a new tower build at Cornell, but that is not included in this paper.