• Period | 2021 - 2023
  • Country | Trondheim, Norge
  • Market | Geotechnics and Environment
  • Project Manager | Sondre Gjengedal
  • Partner | Malvik kommune, Winns AS, FAS AS og Noranergy AS
  • Client | Regional forskningsfond (RFF) Trøndelag
R&D program|

BEAR - Sustainable energy from soil deposits

BEAR is a research and innovation project that tests solutions for the use of geothermal energy from soil deposits as a source for sustainable and stable energy. The geothermal energy solution can function as an integral part of the building construction, and thereby reduce the costs of establishing such systems.

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Utilization of geothermal energy from soil deposits can be very profitable compared to other energy sources with higher costs for installation. BEAR will optimize the design and operation of such facilities. Soil deposits must be defined and described as an energy resource and the energy solution must be adapted to buildings and to local conditions with already known solutions.

The project will develop alternative solutions and new business models for the supply of heating and cooling with a view to sustainable buildings.

Prinsippskisse energipeler 600

Schematic diagram for the use of energy piles in soil as a thermal seasonal storage. The principle is the same as for rock heat, but where the piles have shorter lengths than conventional energy wells in rock (NVE, 2011)


Increased use of geothermal energy represents a local initiative for development towards a more sustainable society and a contribution to achieving the UN's and EU's goals of sustainable and energy efficient buildings.

In Norwegian context, geothermal energy is often associated with energy wells in the bedrock, because most buildings that use energy wells as an energy solution are located in areas with limited depth to the bedrock. Mapping estimates that 64% of built-up area in Norway is located in such areas (Geoclass 3). Areas with a depth of more than 30 meters to rock (Geoclass 4) make up ~ 26% of built-up areas in Norway.

Geoclass 4 is typically in valleys and parts of Trøndelag (Mid-Norway), where the thickness of the soil deposits can be significantly more than 30 meters. This can constitute a significant additional cost when establishing conventional ground heating systems with energy wells in rock. In today's market, there is therefore a need for cost-effective solutions that enable the use of ground heat even in areas with thick soil deposits.

To enable increased use of geothermal energy in areas with thick soil deposits in Trøndelag (Mid-Norway), BEAR will test new solutions for geothermal energy that use the soil deposits as an energy source and can function as an integral part of the construction, thus reducing the costs of establishing such systems. Such a solution can, for example, be "energy piles", where foundation piles for a building can have the additional function as a source of thermal energy for the building itself. Such systems will make it possible for buildings on soil deposits to obtain local renewable energy at a relatively "low" cost.

Work packages

  1. WP1 - Preliminary studies: Characterization of soil deposits for utilization of geothermal energy adapted to local ground conditions, climate and user needs for a relevant project
  2. WP2 - Pilot project: Test of a new and innovative energy solution in soil deposits in a local construction project in Malvik
  3. WP3 - Evaluation: Assessment of sustainability, cost / benefit and degree of energy utilization for the pilot project
  4. WP4 - Dissemination: Disseminate results from BEAR to the industry in Trøndelag, Norway and abroad

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Malvik municipality, represented by Tom André Havnes, is the project owner and administratively responsible for the project. Tom André works with the development of construction projects in the municipality.

Malvik municipality is concerned with building the most sustainable buildings possible. To achieve this, it is necessary to increase the competence on how to utilize geothermal energy from soil deposits in an optimal way, preferably in combination with other energy sources.

NGI Trondheim is the project manager on behalf of Malvik municipality and responsible research partner in the project. Sondre Gjengedal will be the project manager. He completed his PhD with a dissertation on the utilization of groundwater for heating and cooling for buildings in the centre of Melhus.

In addition to Sondre Gjengedal (hydrogeologist), Dr. Priscilla Paniagua (geotechnical engineer) and Senior Engineer Sølve Hov (eotechnical engineer) will be active in the project. NGI will contribute with expertise in geotechnical engineering, foundations, geology (both rock and soil) and methods for ground investigations, as well as sustainability assessment.

The project group is complementary composed:

  • WINNS AS (by Erik Morset) plans and installs climate-neutral and cost-saving energy systems using CO2 technology and heat pump systems
  • Fundamentering AS (by Jon Endre Flåtten) is a construction company that specializes in piles, sheet piling and foundation. They are interested in developing new products where it is conceivable that piles or sheet pile walls can also be used to extract ground heat
  • Noranergy AS (by Wilhelm Huus-Hansen) operates seasonal storage of solar heat that enables local release of large amounts of electric power. There is a strong focus on cost-benefit assessments in BEAR, and it is absolutely necessary that ground heat from loose materials is a stable energy source at the same time as the solution is competitive on price. To achieve this, it is necessary to look at a combination of several energy sources as well as consider seasonal storage of heat
BEAR prosjektorganisering

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