November 8, 2005
Ace Disposal First with Geothermal in West Valley City
With 17 miles of pipe coiling beneath a 51,000 square-foot building, the new Ace Disposal Inc. facility will be West Valley City's first with a geothermal system.
No hot springs or geysers are needed for this geothermal technology, which is on display today during a groundbreaking at the construction site before being covered with 7 feet of dirt, foundation and a two-story building.
West Valley City contracts with Ace Disposal for its recycling and garbage disposal.
Unlike the Blundell power plant in southwestern Utah that generates electricity using water hotter than 500 degrees Fahrenheit, West Valley City's garbage will be sent to a site heated and cooled using the Earth's ground temperature, which ranges from 50 to 60 degrees.
"I think it's something that needs to be used more," said Lon Stalsberg, who owns Ace, of the geothermal technology. "It does pay for itself over time, and it doesn't use fossil fuels - that's the important part of it."
Though start-up costs can sometimes be between twice that of normal heating and cooling systems, the heat pumps in homes typically pay for themselves within four to eight years, said Dewayne Dean of the South Jordan-based Palace Geothermal.
Though it requires some electricity, Dean said heat pumps are among the most efficient technologies. In the winter, the ground stores heat from the sun, which is then diverted to the buildings. During the summer, hot air in buildings is transferred to the cooler ground.
Geothermal heat pumps are more common in the Midwest, said Bob Blackett of the Utah Geological Survey, but are becoming more frequent in public facilities across Utah, like Murray High School.
Heat pumps can be used almost anywhere, said the Cedar City-based geologist, because they don't require the ultra hot water temperatures of other geothermal technologies.
(Salt Lake Tribune, Maria Villasenor, Oct 2, 2008)