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Title:
METHOD FOR INTRODUCING AN ELONGATED ELEMENT, IN PARTICULAR GEO-THERMAL HEAT EXCHANGER, INTO THE SOIL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/126359
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Method for introducing en elongated element into a soil, such as a tubular geothermal heat exchanger, comprising the following steps: - in a drilling motion introducing a drill tube into the soil, which drill tube for that purpose has been provided with a drill head at its lower end, - during the drilling motion supplying a liquid, particularly a bentonite mixture, through the space within the drill tube, - introducing the elongated element in the space within the drill tube, - detaching the drill tube from the drill head, - retracting the drill tube while keeping the elongated element in the soil.

Inventors:
LEHMANN REIJER WILLEM (NL)
LEHMAN JACOB (NL)
Application Number:
NL2011/000024
Publication Date:
October 13, 2011
Filing Date:
April 05, 2011
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GEOTHEX HOLDING B V (NL)
LEHMANN REIJER WILLEM (NL)
LEHMAN JACOB (NL)
International Classes:
F24J3/08; E21B7/00; E21B17/046; E21B19/24
Domestic Patent References:
WO2006089400A12006-08-31
Foreign References:
BE1016899A32007-09-04
US3198269A1965-08-03
NL1010725C12000-06-06
JP2003082970A2003-03-19
US4286651A1981-09-01
DE2930773A11981-02-12
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FERGUSON, Alexander (P.O. Box 970, AZ Amersfoort, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
ΐ 3. U3.

Claims

1. Method for introducing en elongated element into a soil, for instance a

tubular geothermal heat exchanger, comprising the following steps:

- in a drilling motion introducing a drill tube into the soil, which drill tube

for that purpose has been provided with a drill head at its lower end,

- during the drilling motion supplying a liquid, particularly a bentonite

mixture, through the space within the drill tube.

- introducing the elongated element in the space within the drill tube,

- detaching the drill tube from the drill head,

- retracting the drill tube while keeping the elongated element in the soil.

2. Method according to claim 1 , wherein at the location of the drill head the

liquid is allowed to exit via a passage between the inside of the drill tube

and the space outside of the drill head, wherein by means of a one-way

valve arranged in the passage a flow of liquid from outside of the drill head

to the inside of the drill tube is prevented.

3. Method according to claim 2, wherein the one-way valve comprises a

floating ball. 4. Method according to claim 3, wherein the one-way valve comprises a ball

that is biassed against the passage, in a proximal direction.

5. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein at the

location of the drill head the liquid is allowed to exit via a passage between

the inside of the drill tube and the space outside of the drill head, wherein

the liquid is discharged through the drill head via holes in the bit of the drill

head, preferably in the immediate vicinity of the bit edge, particularly immediately behind it, considered in drill rotation direction, wherein the holes preferably open in a substantially forward, distal direction.

6. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein before and during uncoupling the liquid is pressurised at a higher level.

7. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein before completing the introduction of the elongated element, preferably before starting said introduction, the drill tube with drill head is retracted over a certain distance, for instance one meter.

8. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein at the end of the introduction of the elongated element its lower end is brought into engagement with the drill head, wherein, preferably, the lower end of the elongated element is axially coupled to the drill head, wherein, preferably, the lower end of the elongated element is also rotation-fixed ly coupled to the drill head.

9. Method according to any one of the claims 1-7, wherein before introduction the lower end or distal end of the elongated element is provided with an anchor, particularly a tilting anchor, which after retracting the drill tube along it gets into anchoring engagement with the drill hole wall.

10. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein prior to and/or during the retraction of the drill tube the liquid is replaced by a filler of a higher density than the liquid, particularly a grout mixture, particularly having a thermal conduction coefficient that is favourable for heat exchanging, such as heat-conducting grout having a thermal conduction coefficient of over 0.7, preferably over 2.5.

11. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein during the retraction of the drill tube the filling of the drill tube is kept at overpressure that exceeds the pressure at the lower end of the drill tube. 12. Method according to claim 10 or 11 , wherein prior to the retraction of the drill tube the upper end of the drill tube is closed off by means of a plug, which is provided with a passage for the filler, wherein the passage is connected to a pressure source of filler, wherein, preferably, the plug is kept in its place with respect to the elongated element, for which purpose it has been provided with a slide sealing against the drill tube wall.

13. Method according to any one of the claims 10-12, wherein the filler is supplied via a rotary head engaging onto the upper end of the drill tube, wherein when removing the each time top drill tube section, said drill tube section is uncoupled from the rotary head, the supply of the filler is temporarily ended and after reconnecting the remainder of the drill tube to the rotary head the supply is resumed.

14. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the drill tube is uncoupled from the drill head by an uncoupling motion of the drill tube comprising a rotary motion counter the drill rotation direction, wherein the uncoupling motion may comprise an axially proximally oriented component, which at least substantially follows the rotary motion.

15. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the elongated element is introduced into the drill tube over its full introducing length as one elongated unity, wherein the elongated element is unrolled from a supply roll.

16. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the introduction of the elongated element takes place by exerting a pushing force thereon, wherein, preferably, the reactive force for the pushing force is transferred to the drill tube, wherein, preferably, the introduction of the elongated element takes place using a pressure/pusher device engaging onto the outside of the elongated element.

17. Method according to claim 16, wherein the pressure device is reciprocally moved with an introduction track in which the pressure device engages onto the elongated element and takes it along and a return track in which the pressure device moves back with respect to the elongated element. 18. Method according to claim 17, wherein the pressure device is arranged on the drill motor.

19. Method according to claim 16, 17 or 18, wherein the pressure device clampingly engages onto the outside of the elongated element with pressure rollers that can be rotated in one direction only. 20. Method according to claim 18 or 19, wherein during the return stroke of the pressure device the outside of the elongated element is stopped from moving back.

21. Method according to claim 20, wherein the stopping of the elongated element from moving back is carried out using guide rollers that can be rotated in one direction.

22. Method according to claim 2 , wherein the guide rollers are positioned stationary with respect to the drill tube.

23. Method according to claim 16, wherein the pressure/pusher device is attached to the drill tube and the elongated element is guided by rollers attached to the pressure device, wherein at least one of the rollers is driven. 24. Method according to claim 23, wherein of at least one of the rollers the distance in radial direction is set.

25. Drill head assembly for by drilling introducing a drill tube into a soil, comprising a drill head and a drill head holder to be attached to the drill tube, wherein the drill head is provided with a drill bit having cutting edges, wherein the drill head and the drill head holder are provided with first and second cooperating coupling means, respectively, for detachable coupling one to the other, particularly by rotation with respect to each other, wherein the drill head holder is provided with a stop for the drill bit, which stop is active in a direction opposing the rotation direction of the drill head.

26. Drill head assembly according to claim 25, wherein the coupling means are designed double, diametrically with respect to each other. 27. Drill head assembly according to claim 25 or 26, wherein the first and second coupling means comprise a slot and a pin that is slidable therein, wherein the slot comprises an introduction section having an axial directional component and a confining section that is oriented substantially according to a line situated in a radial plane.

28. Drill head assembly according to claim 27, wherein the pin has a round cross-section.

29. Drill head assembly according to claim 28, wherein the pin has a rectangular cross-section, preferably with the short sides oriented axially. 30. Drill head assembly according to claim 27, 28 or 29, wherein the pin is axially spaced apart from the bit and preferably also in circumferential direction of the drill head.

31. Drill head assembly according to claim 27, 28 or 29, wherein the pin is situated against a proximally facing support surface of the bit.

32. Drill head assembly according to any one of the claims 27-31 , wherein the confining section has a blind end section that is oriented according to a line that is at an angle to the radial plane, which angle deviates from zero degrees and is smaller than 10 degrees, preferably smaller than 5 degrees, wherein the end section in a direction towards its end has a proximally oriented directional component.

33. Drill head assembly according to any one of the claims 27-32, wherein the slot is arranged in the drill head holder and the pin projects from the drill head.

34. Drill head assembly according to claim 33, wherein the drill bit comprises a proximally oriented support surface, wherein the drill head holder has a distally oriented end surface for engagement by the support surface of the drill bit, wherein preferably the distance considered in axial direction between the support surface and the pin is smaller than or equal to the distance in axial direction between the edge situated at the distal side of the end of the slot and the end surface.

35. Drill head assembly according to any one of the claims 25-34, wherein the stop is provided on a shoulder, which in distal direction projects from the end surface of the drill head holder.

36. Drill head assembly according to any one of the claims 25-34, wherein the stop is provided on a lip bounding the slot in distal direction. 37. Drill head assembly according to claim 25 or 26, wherein the first and second coupling means comprise a slot and a hole in the drill bit, which slot is bounded in distal direction by a lip and which hole is intended for fitting accommodation of the lip. 38. Drill head assembly according to claim 37, wherein the stop is formed by the end of the slot.

39. Drill head provided with a coupling member for coupling to a drill tube, whether or not through the intermediary of a drill head holder, and a bit attached thereto, which bit has been provided with passages for a liquid, particularly a bentonite mixture and/or grout mixture.

40. Drill head according to claim 39, wherein the bit has a bit edge, wherein the liquid passages considered in drill rotation direction are situated immediately behind the bit edge.

41. Drill head according to claim 39 or 40, wherein the bit is plate-shaped having bit edges extending obliquely rearward from a tip. 42. Drill head according to claim 41 , wherein the bit is composed of two bit plates attached to each other, which plates in a direction transverse to the drill axis are shifted and each define a bit edge that are almost diametrically situated with respect to each other. 43. Drill head according to claim 42, wherein the passages are situated between both bit plates.

44. Drill head provided with a coupling member for coupling to a drill tube, whether or not through the intermediary of a drill head holder, and a plate- shaped bit attached thereto in side view having a triangular or pentagonal shape, wherein the bit in side view is substantially symmetrical and defines a tip, wherein two sides extend obliquely rearward from the tip and are provided with bit edges.

45. Drill head according to claim 44, wherein the bit in said oblique sides near the bit edges is provided with passages for a liquid, particularly a bentonite mixture and/or grout mixture.

46. Drill head according to claim 44 or 45, wherein the bit is composed of two bit plates attached to each other, which plates in a direction transverse to the drill axis are shifted and each define a bit edge that are almost diametrically situated with respect to each other.

47. Drill head according to claim 46, wherein the passages are situated between both bit plates.

48. Drill head assembly according to any one of the claims 25-38, provided with a drill head according to any one of the claims 39-47.

49. Anchor for anchoring an elongated element, such as a geothermal heat exchanger in a borehole made in a soil, comprising an anchor rod and a holder for it, which holder is provided with means for attachment to the distal end of the elongated element, wherein the anchor rod in the vicinity of its centre is hinged to the holder and is rotatable between an introduction position substantially parallel to a distal end section of the elongated element and an anchoring position substantially perpendicular thereto. 50. Anchor according to claim 49, wherein the holder is provided with an accommodation space for accommodation of the section of the anchor rod situated at one side of the hinge, wherein the holder preferably comprises two strips that are able to accommodate an arm of the anchor rod in between them.

51. Assembly of an anchor according to claim 49 or 50 and a geothermal heat exchanger having passages that are concentric with respect to each other for heat exchanging fluid flowing downward and upward again, respectively, wherein the heat exchanger is provided with an end cap forming a turning means for said fluid and the holder is attached to the end cap.

52. Tube assembly, particularly intended to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, comprising an inner tube bounding a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and an outer tube concentrically positioned around the inner tube while forming and annular space, which forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, wherein the inner tube is entirely made of thermally insulating material and provided with one or more ribs that abut the inner surface of the outer tube and are made of thermally insulating material and the outer tube is made of thermally conductive material.

53. Tube assembly according to claim 52, wherein the ribs keep the inner tube centred within the outer tube and keep the inner tube and outer tube thermally insulated from each other and/or divide the second passage into parallel channels.

54. Tube assembly according to claim 52 or 53, wherein the ribs extend substantially continuously, considered in the direction of the tube assembly.

55. Tube assembly according to claim 54, wherein the ribs extend parallel to the axis, wherein there preferably are more than two ribs which, preferably, considered in cross-section, are distributed regularly over the circumference.

56. Tube assembly according to claim 54, wherein the ribs extend according to a helical line, wherein there preferably are two ribs.

57. Tube assembly according to claim 56, wherein the pitch of the ribs is 360 degrees per at least approximately 1m, preferably 360 degrees per more than approximately 1 ,5m, for instance 360 degrees per 1.85m.

58. Tube assembly according to any one of the claims 52-57, wherein the thermally insulating material of the inner tube and the ribs is a synthetic foamed material with closed cells, particularly polyethene, more particularly an HDPE.

59. Tube assembly according to claim 58, wherein the ribs are integrally formed with the inner tube, particularly by extrusion.

60. Tube assembly according to any one of the claims 52-59, wherein the ratio between the flow-through surface inside the inner tube and the flow- through surface of the annular space is in the range of approximately 1 :1.5 to 1:4.

61. Tube assembly according to any one of the claims 52-60, wherein the ribs, considered in cross-section of the inner tube, have a starting width (the shortest distance between both points where the flanks or sides of the ribs merge into the outer surface of the inner tube) that is larger than the protruding distance of the ribs (the distance measured in radial direction between a line connecting said points with each other and the radial outer tip or surface of the ribs).

62. Tube assembly according to any one of the claims 52-61, wherein the ribs, considered in cross-section, have flanks converging in radial outward direction, in case of a substantially trapezoidal cross-section.

63. Tube assembly according to any one of the claims 52-62, wherein the outer tube is made of a heat-conducting solid synthetic material, for instance solid HDPE.

64. Tube assembly according to any one of the claims 52-63, at the distal end provided with an end cap which forms a turning means for the fluid. 65. tube apparently suitable and intended as inner tube for a tube assembly according to any one of the claims 52-64.

66. Tube assembly, particularly intended to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, comprising an inner tube bounding a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and an outer tube concentrically positioned around the inner tube while forming an annular space, which forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, the ratio between the flow-through surface inside the inner tube and the flow-through surface of the annular space being in the range of approximately 1 :1.5 to 1 :4.

67. Tube assembly, particularly intended to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, comprising an inner tube bounding a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and an outer tube concentrically positioned around the inner tube while forming an annular space, which forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, wherein the inner tube is provided with one or more ribs abutting the inner surface of the outer tube, wherein the ribs, considered in cross-section of the inner tube, have a starting width (the shortest distance between both points where the flanks or sides of the ribs merge into the outer surface of the inner tube) that is larger than the protruding distance of the ribs (the distance measured in radial direction between a line connecting said points with each other and the radial outer tip or surface of the ribs).

68. Tube assembly, particularly intended to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, comprising an assembled inner tube having an axis, which forms a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water and an outer tube concentrically positioned around the inner tube while forming an annular space, which forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, wherein the inner tube has a casing that is made of thermally insulating material and is provided with one or more ribs abutting the inner surface of the outer tube and are made of thermally insulating material and the outer tube is made of thermally conductive material, wherein the casing fittingly envelops a further tube, which third tube is of a different material than the casing, wherein the ribs extend in a substantially continuous manner, considered in the direction of the tube assembly and the ribs extend parallel to the axis, wherein there preferably are more than two ribs, which preferably, considered in cross- section, are regularly distributed over the circumference.

69. Splitter cap for connection to the end of a tube assembly, which tube assembly comprises an inner tube and an outer tube that are concentric with respect to each other and in the inner tube forms a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and concentrically around it an annular space bounded by the outer tube, which annular space forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, wherein the cap is provided with a main passage surrounded by a casing of the cap which main passage splits in a third and a fourth passage, wherein the third passage is in line with the main passage, wherein the main passage has an inner diameter suitable for accommodation of the inner tube and the inner tube is secured therein by means of a sleeve extending in the third passage which sleeve has a passage that connects to the first passage and at its outer side is fluid-sealed against the surface of the third passage, wherein the fourth passage is in fluid connection with the space in the main passage between the inner tube and casing and the second passage.

70. Cap according to claim 69, wherein the sleeve is threaded at one end so that it can be screwed into the inner tube, wherein the sleeve preferably is provided with a stop for against the opening edge of the third passage, so that the inner tube can be pulled into the main passage by rotation of the sleeve.

71. Cap according to claim 69 or 70, wherein the third passage has such a diameter that also the end of the outer tube can be snugly accommodated therein.

72. Assembly of a splitter cap according to claim 69, 70 or 71 , and a tube assembly having concentric first and second passages, particularly to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, wherein the splitter cap is attached to an end of the tube assembly.

73. Heat exchanger system comprising one or more assemblies according to one or more of the claims 51-68 and 72. 74. Arrangement of a building and one or more assemblies according to one or more of the claims 51-68 and 72, wherein the assemblies have been placed in the soil and are part of a heating and/or cooling system for the building. 75. Arrangement according to claim 73, wherein the assemblies are completely filled with a liquid as heat exchanger fluid.

76. Drill arrangement including a drill tube and an introduction device for it, wherein at the distal end the drill tube is provided with a drill head assembly according to any one of the claims 25-38.

77. Device for moving a tubular element provided with a front end in a direction of its axis with the front end in the lead, comprising a frame having a pressure device with a number of pressure rollers that clampingly engage onto the outer side of the tubular element, means for in axis direction reciprocally moving the pressure device along the frame, wherein the pressure rollers are only rotatable in a direction in which the engagement surfaces of the pressure rollers move towards each other and towards the front end.

78. Device according to claim 77, furthermore comprising a guiding device that is stationary on the frame with respect to the pressure device and provided with guide rollers that are only rotatable in a direction in which the engagement surfaces of the guide rollers move towards each other and towards the front end.

79. Device according to claim 78, wherein the frame is provided with means for attachment to an introduction end of a drill tube.

80. Device for guiding a tubular element during its introduction into a tube, comprising means for attachment of the guiding device to the introduction end of the tube and guide rollers that are only rotatable in a direction in which the engagement surfaces of the guide rollers move towards each other and towards the leading end of the tubular element.

81. Method provided with one or more of the characterising measures described in the attached description and/or shown in the attached drawings.

82. Device provided with one or more of the characterising measures described in the attached description and/or shown in the attached drawings.

83. Drill head assembly or tube assembly provided with one or more of the characterising measures described in the attached description and/or shown in the attached drawings.

Description:
Method for introducing an elongated element, in particular geo- thermal heat exchanger, into the soil

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to introducing an elongated element into a soil, such as a heat exchanger or terrestrial heat probe, drainage pipe, exploration pipe (to be connected to a well), a gas supply line and a gas extraction line (for instance for soil sanitation or monitoring, seismic pipes, pull anchors etc.).

By way of example geothermal applications will be gone into here. Geothermal relative heat or relative cold is increasingly used in climate regulation of buildings and infrastructural facilities. Such systems usually comprise an elongated heat exchanger that extends from a soil surface into the soil, down to a certain depth for contact and temperature exchange with the wanted soil strata.

In a known process a drill tube is drilled into the soil from the surface level using drilling gear, while circulating a water/bentonite mixture for discharging soil material. After the desired depth has been reached the drill tube with drill head is retrieved, whereas the water/bentonite mixture keeps on being supplied. Subsequently the heat exchanger is lowered in the filled borehole, for which purpose its lower end is weighted by attaching a weight thereto so that the heat exchanger is pulled into the soil as it were.

This process is rather uncontrolled. It may occur that the borehole wall locally subsides as a result of locally higher hydraulic pressure. Furthermore the lowering of the heat exchanger in inclined boreholes can be made difficult by the weight getting into contact with the borehole wall. The heat exchanger can also get damaged. Similar problems are also experienced in the other applications mentioned in the preamble.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide a method of the type mentioned in the preamble, with which an elongated element, such as for instance a heat exchanger, can be introduced into a soil in a reliable and safe manner, as well as an arrangement for it.

It is an object of the invention to provide a method of the type mentioned in the preamble, with which an elongated element, such as for instance a heat exchanger, can be introduced into a soil in an easy manner, as well as an arrangement for it.

It is an object of the invention to provide a drill head assembly with which the introduction into the soil of a tube coupled thereto is enhanced. It is an object of the invention to provide a method of the type mentioned in the preamble, with which an elongated element, such as for instance a geothermal heat exchanger, can be introduced into a soil at an inclined angle, as well as the means for it. It is an object of the invention to provide a concentric tube assembly that is particularly suitable for use in a geothermal heat exchanger. A further object of the invention is providing an inner tube that is particularly suitable for said tube assembly. It is an object of the invention to provide a simple entrance/exit cap for a concentric tube assembly that is particularly suitable for use in a geothermal heat exchanger.

For achieving at least one of these objects the invention, according to one aspect, provides a method for introducing an elongated element into a soil, such as a tubular geothermal heat exchanger or terrestrial heat probe, comprising the following steps: in a drilling motion introducing a drill tube into the soil, which drill tube for that purpose has been provided with a drill head at its lower end,

during the drilling motion supplying a liquid, particularly a bentonite mixture, through the space within the drill tube,

introducing the elongated element in the space within the drill tube, detaching the drill tube from the drill head,

retracting the drill tube while keeping the elongated element in the soil.

In that way the integrity of the borehole during the introduction of the elongated element is ensured. During lowering the elongated element it does not make contact with the borehole wall, but instead at the most with the usually smooth drill tube. This considerably reduces the risk of external damage of the elongated element during the introduction.

In one embodiment, at the location of the drill head, the liquid is allowed to exit via a passage between the inside of the drill tube and the space outside of the drill head, wherein by means of a one-way valve arranged in the passage a flow of liquid from outside of the drill head to the inside of the drill tube is prevented. The one-way valve can be a floating ball or a ball that is biassed against the passage, in a proximal direction. In that way it is prevented that during drilling a locally high hydraulic pressure results in groundwater and sand entering, as a result of which flushing holes could otherwise get clogged up.

In one embodiment the liquid is discharged through the drill head via holes in the bit of the drill head, preferably in the immediate vicinity of the bit edge, particularly immediately behind it, considered in drill rotation direction. In that case the holes can open in a substantially forward, distal direction.

In one embodiment before and during uncoupling the liquid is pressurised at a higher level, as a result of which in the uncoupling motion the drill head can be urged axially from the drill tube end and is pressed deeper into the soil. In that way the uncoupling is accelerated and/or the drill head is attached into the soil more firmly. In one embodiment before completing the introduction of the elongated element, preferably before starting said introduction, the drill tube with drill head is retracted over a certain distance, for instance one meter, so that in front of the drill head a space filled with said liquid is achieved.

At the end of the introduction of the elongated element its lower end can be brought into engagement with the drill head. In that case the lower end of the elongated element can be axially coupled to the drill head, as a result of which the drill head could also be active as anchor for the elongated element during retracting the drill tube. In one embodiment the lower end of the elongated element may also be rotation-fixed ly coupled to the drill head, so that retraction of the drill tube is facilitated.

Alternatively the lower end or distal end of the elongated element is provided with an anchor, particularly a tilting anchor, which after retracting the drill tube along it, gets into engagement with the borehole wall.

In a further development of the method according to the invention, prior to and/or during the retraction of the drill tube the liquid used up until then is replaced by a filler of a higher density than the liquid used up until then, particularly a grout mixture. Said filler is selected in view of stability of the borehole after removal of the drill tube and with a view to the function of heat exchanger, favourable thermal conduction coefficient, such as heat- conducting grout having a thermal conduction coefficient of over 0.7, preferably over 2.5.

Preferably during the retraction of the drill tube the filling of the drill tube is kept at overpressure that exceeds the pressure at the lower end of the drill tube, particularly over 20 bar, for instance in the range of 20-60 bar, in which way it is prevented that at the outer end of the drill tube an underpressure arises that jeopardises the stability of the drillhole.

Preferably prior to the retraction of the drill tube, the upper end of the drill tube is closed off by means of a plug, which is provided with a passage for the filler, wherein the passage is connected to a pressure source of filler. Preferably the plug is kept in its place with respect to the elongated element, for which purpose it has been provided with a slide sealing against the drill tube wall. The filler can be supplied via a drill motor (tube rotary head) engaging onto the upper end of the drill tube, wherein when removing the each time top drill tube section, said drill tube section is uncoupled from the rotary head, the supply of the filler is temporarily ended and after reconnecting the remainder of the drill tube to the rotary head the supply is resumed.

Preferably the drill tube is uncoupled from the drill head by an uncoupling motion of the drill tube comprising a rotary motion counter the drill rotation direction. The uncoupling motion may comprise an axially proximally oriented component, which at least substantially follows the rotary motion.

In a further development of the method according to the invention the introduction of the elongated element takes place by exerting a pushing force thereon, so that the introduction is independent from the angle of the drillhole to the horizontal. The introduction is enhanced when the reactive force for the pushing force is transferred to the drill tube.

In one embodiment the pressure/pusher device is reciprocally moved with an introduction track in which the pressure device engages onto the elongated element and takes it along and a return track in which the pressure device moves back with respect to the elongated element. The pressure device may for that purpose be attached to the drill motor. The pressure device may in that case clampingly engage onto the outside of the elongated element with pressure rollers that can be rotated in one direction only. The elongated element moving back is counteracted when during the return stroke of the pressure device the outside of the elongated element is stopped from moving back. Said stopping of the elongated element from moving back can be carried out using guide rollers that are rotatable in one direction, which guide rollers preferably are positioned stationary with respect to the drill tube.

It is also possible to introduce the elongated element using a pressure/pusher device that is attached to the upper end of the drill tube, wherein the elongated element is guided by rollers attached to the pressure device, wherein at least one of the rollers is driven. Preferably of at least one of the rollers the distance in radial direction is set. The elongated element can be introduced into the drill tube over its full introducing length as one elongated unity, wherein the elongated element is unrolled from a supply roll. According to a further aspect the invention provides a drill head assembly for by drilling introducing a drill tube into a soil, comprising a drill head and a drill head holder to be attached to the drill tube, wherein the drill head is provided with a drill bit having cutting edges, wherein the drill head and the drill head holder are provided with first and second cooperating coupling means, respectively, for detachable coupling one to the other, wherein the drill head holder is provided with a stop for the drill bit, which stop is active in a direction opposing the rotation direction of the drill head. In that way an uncoupling of the drill head and drill tube is made possible, whereas also tangential support is offered to the drill bit during drilling, which enhances the torque transfer.

For enhancing the stability of the drill head in the drill head holder the coupling means are preferably designed double, diametrically with respect to each other.

In a first further development thereof the first and second coupling means comprise a slot and a pin that is slidable therein, wherein the slot comprises an introduction section having an axial directional component and a confining section that is oriented substantially according to a line situated in a radial plane. The pin may for instance have a round cross-section. Alternatively the pin may have a rectangular cross-section, preferably with the short sides oriented axially.

The confining section may have a blind end section that is oriented according to a line that is at an angle to the radial plane, which angle deviates from zero degrees and is smaller than 10 degrees, preferably smaller than 5 degrees, wherein the end section in a direction towards its end has a proximally oriented directional component. In that way when placing the drill head it is urged closer in axial direction to the drill head holder and a better sealing is obtained there.

In a simple embodiment the slot is arranged in the drill head holder and the pin projects from the drill head. In that case the drill bit preferably comprises a proximally oriented support surface, wherein the drill head holder has a distally oriented end surface for engagement by the support surface of the drill bit, wherein the distance considered in axial direction between the support surface and the pin is smaller than or equal to the distance in axial direction between the edge situated at the distal side of the end of the slot and the end surface. In that way a clamping action is achieved as a result of which the coupling gains reliability. It is advantageous then when the said stop is provided on a shoulder, which in distal direction projects from the end surface of the drill head holder.

In a second further embodiment of the drill head assembly the first and second coupling means comprise a slot and a hole in the drill bit, which slot is bounded in distal direction by a lip and which hole is intended for fitting accommodation of the lip. Said stop can then be formed by the end of the slot itself. This embodiment is particularly advantageous in case of said double design of the coupling means, as more material of the wall of the drill head holder is available behind the stop, which is thus able to absorb higher forces. According to a further aspect the invention provides a drill head provided with a coupling member for coupling to a drill tube, whether or not through the intermediary of a drill head holder, and a bit attached thereto, which bit itself has been provided with passages for a liquid, particularly a bentonite mixture and/or grout mixture. The bit may have a bit edge, wherein the liquid passages considered in drill rotation direction are situated immediately behind the bit edge. In that way the liquid is discharged in the front end of the drill head, as close as possible to the cut. This may be advantageous in the circulation of liquid for the stability and discharge of soil material, as well as for supplying liquid for the displacement or soaking of soil material.

Preferably the bit is plate-shaped having bit edges extending obliquely rearward from a tip. In that case the bit can be composed of two bit plates attached to each other, which plates in a direction transverse to the drill axis are offset and each define a bit edge that are almost diametrically situated with respect to each other. The passages can then be provided between both bit plates. Both bit plates offer each other support in rotation direction. According to a further aspect the invention provides a drill head provided with a coupling member for coupling to a drill tube, whether or not through the intermediary of a drill head holder, and a plate-shaped bit attached thereto in side view having a triangular or pentagonal shape, wherein the bit in side view is substantially symmetrical and defines a tip, wherein two sides extend obliquely rearward from the tip and are provided with bit edges. In said oblique sides directly near the bit edges, the bit can be provided with passages for a liquid, particularly a bentonite mixture and/or grout mixture.

According to a further aspect the invention provides a device for moving a tubular element provided with a front end in a direction of its axis with the front end in the lead, comprising a frame having a pressure device with a number of pressure rollers that clampingly engage onto the outer side of the tubular element, means for in axis direction reciprocally moving the pressure device along the frame, wherein the pressure rollers are only rotatable in a direction in which the engagement surfaces of the pressure rollers move towards each other and towards the front end. With such a device the tubular element, such as a geothermal heat exchanger, can be inserted into a borehole in a quick and reliable manner. Such an introduction device is particularly usable in a method according to the invention. The device may furthermore comprise a guiding device that is stationary on the frame with respect to the pressure device and is provided with guide rollers that are only rotatable in a direction in which the engagement surfaces of the guide rollers move towards each other and towards the front end.

For transfer of forces the frame may be provided with means for attachment to an introduction end of a drill tube.

According to a further aspect the invention provides a device for guiding a tubular element during its introduction into a tube, comprising means for attachment of the guiding device to the introduction end of the tube and guide rollers that are only rotatable in a direction in which the engagement surfaces of the guide rollers move towards each other and towards the leading end of the tubular element.

According to a further aspect the invention provides an anchor for anchoring an elongated element, such as a geothermal heat exchanger, in a borehole made in a soil, comprising an anchor rod and a holder for it, which holder is provided with means for attachment to the distal end of the elongated element, wherein the anchor rod in the vicinity of its centre is hinged to the holder and is rotatable between an introduction position substantially parallel to a distal end section of the elongated element and an anchoring position substantially perpendicular thereto. Preferably the holder is provided with an accommodation space for accommodation of the section of the anchor rod situated at one side of the hinge, so that in the introduction position the profile of the anchor can be as small as possible, as a result of which the introduction of the elongated element in a borehole and the like, is not impeded at least not to an undesirable degree. The holder may thus for instance comprise two strips that are able to accommodate an arm of the anchor rod in between them. The anchor may furthermore have a weight that is such that the elongated element is kept taut during the introduction into the borehole and the like. The anchor can be attached to an end cap of a geothermal heat exchanger having passages that are concentric with respect to each other for heat exchanging fluid flowing downward and upward again, respectively, wherein the end cap forms a turning means for said fluid.

According to a further aspect the invention provides a tube assembly, particularly intended to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, comprising an inner tube having an axis, forming a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and an outer tube concentrically positioned around the inner tube while forming and annular space, which forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, wherein the inner tube is entirely made of thermally insulating material and provided with one or more ribs that abut the inner surface of the outer tube and are made of thermally insulating material and the outer tube is made of thermally conductive material. In that way the thermal transfer between ambient and the fluid in the first passage is counteracted to a large extent. In a simple embodiment the ribs extend substantially continuously, considered in the direction of the tube assembly.

The ribs keep the inner tube centred within the outer tube and keep the inner tube and outer tube thermally insulated from each other. They divide the second passage into parallel channels.

In a first embodiment thereof the ribs extend parallel to the axis. Preferably there are more than two ribs which, preferably, considered in cross-section, are distributed regularly over the circumference.

In another embodiment thereof the ribs extend according to a helical line. In that case there can be two ribs. The pitch of the ribs then preferably is 360 degrees per at least approximately 1m, preferably 360 degrees per more than approximately 1 ,5m, for instance 360 degrees per 1.85m. The base helix angle can be less than 20 degrees, preferably less than 10 degrees, for instance approximately 5 degrees or less.

With such a large pitch the hydraulic resistance can be kept limited, as a result of which the power required for the circulation of the exchanger liquid can be saved on.

The thermally insulating material of the inner tube and the ribs preferably is a synthetic foamed material with closed cells, particularly polyethene, more particularly an HDPE.

Preferably the ribs are integrally formed with the inner tube, particularly by extrusion. The ratio between the flow-through surface inside the inner tube and the flow-through surface of the annular space may be in the range of approximately 1 :1.5 to 1 :4. Thus the flow-through surface in the annular space is larger than that of the inner tube, wherein the dimensions of the outer tube can remain within acceptable bounds. It is desirable that the borehole to be made is as small as possible (among others in view of saving on grout and limiting the damaging/influencing of the soil), however with sufficient effectiveness for the geothermal heat exchanger. The ribs, considered in cross-section of the inner tube, may have a starting width (the shortest distance between both points where the flanks or sides of the ribs merge into the outer surface of the inner tube) that is larger than the protruding distance of the ribs (the distance measured in radial direction between a line connecting said points with each other and the radial outer tip or surface of the ribs).

In one embodiment the ribs, considered in cross-section, have flanks converging in radial outward direction. Preferably they have a substantially trapezoidal cross-section.

The outer tube can be made of a heat-conducting solid sy ÷ itheti;c material, for instance solid HDPE. At the distal end the tube assembly can be provided with an end cap which forms a turning means for the fluid.

The tube assembly can be supplied on a roll. According to a further aspect the invention provides a tube assembly, particularly intended to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, comprising an inner tube bounding a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and an outer tube.: concentrically positioned around the inner tube while forming an annular space, which forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, the ratio between the flow-through surface inside the inner tube and the flow-through surface of the annular space being in the range of approximately 1 :1.5 to 1 :4. According to a further aspect the invention provides a tube assembly, particularly intended to be used as geothermal heat exchanger, comprising an inner tube bounding a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and an outer tube concentrically positioned around the inner tube while forming an annular space, which forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, wherein the inner tube is provided with one or more ribs abutting the inner surface of the outer tube, wherein the ribs, considered in cross-section of the inner tube, have a starting width (the shortest distance between both points where the flanks or sides of the ribs merge into the outer surface of the inner tube) that is larger than the protruding distance of the ribs (the distance measured in radial direction between a line connecting said points with each other and the radial outer tip or surface of the ribs).

According to a further aspect the invention provides a splitter cap for connection to the end of a tube assembly, which tube assembly comprises an inner tube and an outer tube that are concentric with respect to each other and in the inner tube forms a first passage for a flowing heat exchanger fluid, particularly liquid, particularly water, and concentrically around it an annular space bounded by the outer tube, which annular space forms a second passage for the flowing heat exchanger fluid, wherein the cap is provided with a main passage surrounded by a casing of the cap which main passage splits in a third and a fourth passage, wherein the third passage is in line with the main passage, wherein the main passage has an inner diameter suitable for accommodation of the inner tube and the inner tube is secured therein by means of a sleeve extending in the third passage which sleeve has a passage that connects to the first passage and at its outer side is fluid-sealed against the surface of the third passage, wherein the fourth passage is in fluid connection with the space in the main passage between the inner tube and casing and the second passage. In that way the concentric arrangement of the passages is transferred to an arrangement that is fully adjacently positioned, for connection to the separated supply and discharge lines of a geothermal heat exchanger arrangement.

The third passage may have such a diameter that also the end of the outer tube can be snugly accommodated therein. The sleeve may be threaded at one end so that it can be screwed into the inner tube. At the other end the sleeve can be provided with a stop for against the opening edge of the third passage, so that the inner tube can be pulled into the main passage by rotation of the sleeve. The invention further provides a splitter cap according to the invention that is attached to the end of a tube assembly having said concentric first and second passages. The aspects and measures described in this description and the claims of the application and/or shown in the drawings of this application may where possible also be used individually. Said individual aspects may be the subject of divisional patent applications relating thereto. This particularly applies to the measures and aspects that are described per se in the sub claims.

SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be elucidated on the basis of a number of exemplary embodiments shown in the attached drawings, which by way of example largely relate to the use with a heat exchanger, in which:

Figures 1A-H show a few consecutive steps in carrying out an example of a method according to the invention;

Figures 2A-E show a first embodiment of a drill head according to the invention, in a side view, in a cross-section according to arrow IIB, in a rear view according to arrow IIC, in a front view according to line IID and detail ME, respectively;

Figures 3A-C show an assembly of drill head holder and drill head according to figures 2A-E, the drill head, the drill head holder for it and the assembly, respectively;

Figures 4A-C show a second embodiment of an assembly of drill head holder and drill head according to the invention, the drill head, the drill head holder for it and the assembly, respectively; Figures 5A-E show a third embodiment of an assembly of drill head holder and drill head according to the invention, the drill head in side view, in longitudinal section and in bottom view, respectively, and the assembly in side view and the assembly in perspective during assembling, respectively; Figures 6A and 6B show a side view and a cross-section of a plug assembly for use in a method according to the invention; Figures 7A and 7B show a side view of an inner tube for a tube assembly for a geothermal heat exchanger according to the invention and a cross- section of such a tube assembly, respectively; Figures 7C and 7D show a side view of an alternative inner tube for a tube assembly for a geothermal heat exchanger according to the invention and a cross-section of such a tube assembly, respectively;

Figures 8A-C show a picture of the start of introducing a tube assembly according to the invention in a drill tube into the soil and a detail of the distal end or introduction end of the tube assembly, as well as said detail after removing the drill tube, respectively;

Figures 9A-E show a number of consecutive steps in realising the entrance and exit connections at the proximal end of the tube assembly and a cross- section of said connection;

Figure 10 shows a schematic view of an arrangement for carrying out a method according to the invention; and

Figures 11A and 11B show guiding and or introduction devices according to the invention, in oblique side view and in end view.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In figures 1A-H a method according to the invention is shown in vertical use, but the method can also be carried out at angles deviating from the vertical. In figure 1A a drill tube 1 is drilled section by section into the soil 100 (direction B) using a rotary head that is not shown which rotates in the direction A and after placement of a next drill tube section is coupled to the upper edge thereof. At the lower end, distal end or leading end, the drill tube 1 is provided with a drill tube holder 3 and a drill head 2 that is detachably connected thereto, see the possible embodiments of figures 2A- C and 3A-C as well as those of figures 4A-C and 5A-E. During drilling liquid 6 is supplied (direction C) in the inside 5 of the drill tube 1. Said liquid exits from holes in the drill head 2 and by circulation, known per se, ensures discharge of the soil material from the borehole. The liquid can also be used for soaking or forcing aside soil material.

In figure 1B the desired deepest point (for instance 20-50m) has been reached. The drill tube 1 is then slightly retracted (direction D, figure 1C), for instance 1m, and subsequently, see figure 1 D, by means of a drive 8 (see for instance the discussions of figures 10, 11 or of figure 8A) an terrestrial heat probe or terrestrial heat exchanger 7 is inserted into the inside 5 of the drill tube 1 (direction E) filled with flushing liquid. The flushing liquid 6 offers little resistance against this. For the introduction process figure 10 can also be referred to. When the lower end 9 of the heat exchanger 7 has arrived at the drill tip, and in addition also extends through the drill head holder, it may optionally be coupled to the drill head 2, at the location of 4 (figure 1E).

Alternatively, as shown in figures 8A-C to be further discussed, an anchor can be used, in which case coupling to the drill tip is not required. Instead of an anchor or in addition thereto use can be made of weighting the heat exchanger, by an added weight attached at the bottom and/or by filling with water. After that, also see figure 1 E, the upper end of the heat exchanger 7 is sealed off in order to prevent that grout and the like enters into its passages. Prior thereto the heat exchanger can be filled with water so that it acquirers a higher weight and is better able to set in the drill tube and after that in the borehole.

In a simple embodiment the upper end of the heat exchanger is sealed off with a closed cap, that can be removed later on.

In another embodiment the heat exchanger 7 is sealed off at the top with a plug 10 and (after that or prior to that) a synthetic plug 11 is placed on top of it, which plug is provided with a slide sealing against the drill tube 1. The plug 11 is provided with a through-channel 12, though which grout 14 is inserted, under a pressure of 20-60 bar (direction F). Said grout 14 displaces the flushing liquid. The plugs 10 and 11 are shown more closely in figures 6A and 6B, see sealings 15.

After the inside of the drill tube 1 has been filled with grout 14 the drill head holder 3 is uncoupled from the drill head 2, by rotating the drill tube 1 in direction A' and lift it in direction G, figure 1F. When lifting the drill tube 1 the top drill tube section slides sealingly along the plug 11 , whereas the grout is kept at the high pressure via channel 12. As a result an undesired underpressure below the lower end of the drill tube 1 is prevented and the borehole wall remains filled with grout 14 and intact. The drill head 2 and the heat exchanger 7 remain in their place.

When a drill tube section can be detached from the rest of the drill tube 1 the connection of the grout source with the channel 12 is temporarily ended. The plug 11 will then also remain in place in case of a high pressure in the space below the plug 1 . Also see figures 1 F and 1 G.

When the entire drill tube 1 has been lifted the plug 10 is also removed and the heat exchanger 7 can be connected to the supply and discharge lines of the exchanger medium. The heat exchanger or heat probe 7 is enveloped by the heat conducting grout 14, see figure 1H.

The drill head 2 of the figures 2A-E and 3A comprise a length of tube 30 which at the outside is provided with two diametrically extending pins 38a, b. The length of tube forms a chamber 39, in which a floating valve or ball 40 is reciprocally movable, between the end wall 37 and a ball seating 41. On the end wall a bit 31 is welded comprising a pair of bit plates 32a, b that are welded to one another while leaving passages 35 free between them, which passages are connected to the chamber 39 by passages 36 in the end wall 37. The bit plates 32a, 32b have an almost symmetrical pentagonal shape, like the shape of a little house, wherein of each bit plate one inclined edge forms a bit edge 33a, 33b. With their bottom side both plates extend radially in order to form axially rearwardly oriented support surfaces 31a,31b. Because both plates are slightly offset with respect to one another the other inclined edge 33c,33d is situated slightly lower than the adjacent bit edge, in other words in its shadow, considered in relation to the drill rotation direction A. At that location, between both inclined edges 33a, 33c and 33b,d holes 34 are provided, which continue the passages 35, so that liquid may exit in the direction I.

When the hydraulic pressure in front of the drill head exceeds the pressure of the liquid in the supply, then the ball 40 is pressed against the seating 41 and further inflow of liquid (with soil material) in the direction K and J is prevented.

The drill head 2 can, as shown in figures 3A-C, be joined with a drill head holder 3, which can be attached to the front end of a drill tube. The drill head holder 2 is provided with coupling or connection means for cooperation with the bit 31 and the pins 38a,b of the drill head 2. For that purpose the drill head holder 3 is provided with two slots 51 a, b in the end edge 50, which slots each have a predominantly axially oriented insertion section 52a, b and a confining section 53a,b oriented in circumferential direction and ending in a stop edge 54a,b. The confining section can be at 90 degrees to the tube axis S, or at a small angle run rearward, direction stop edge. The end edge 50 furthermore comprises edges 55a, 55b that are situated in a plane that is at 90 degrees to the tube axis S. Shoulders 56a, 56b extend in axial direction from the edges 55a, 55b and form tangentially oriented stop surfaces.

When placing the drill head 2 in the holder 3 the pins 38a, b are brought in the slots 51 a, b direction L, and the drill head 2 is rotated in direction M, in the confining sections 53a, b until the pins 38a, b nearly or fully abut the stop edges 54a,b in any case until the bit plates 32a, b abut the stop surfaces 56a, b. The axial distance S1 between the distal edge of the confining section 53a, b and the edges 55a, b corresponds with the axial distance S2 between the pin 38a, b and support surface 31 a, b. The drill head 2 is then reliably attached on the holder 3, yet detachably, when the holder 3 is rotated in the opposite sense A'. When drilling, rotation direction A, the connection is self-reinforcing, wherein the bit 31 is supported by the shoulder 56a, b. If the confining sections 53a, b take up the aforementioned small angle and S1 in the direction of M increases to S1>S2, a clamping action can be realised and the pin 38a, b will remain at a short distance from the stop surface 54a, b. The alternative embodiment of the drill head 102 and drill head holder 03 of figures 4A-C is characterised in that a part of the bit 131 itself is accommodated in the slots 151a,b. For that purpose the bit 131 is provided with holes 158a,b in which in a fitting and slidable manner a lip or finger 157a,b formed at the end edge 150 of the holder 103 can be accommodated. During drilling the bit plates 132a,b find support against stop surface 156a,b. In the embodiment of figures 5A-E, which at this moment is preferred, the pin 238a, b attached on the length of tube is flat or rectangular and furthermore it is welded against the support surface 231 a, b. The length of tube forms a chamber 239 in which a one-way valve is housed, which comprises a valve or ball 240 which by means of compression spring 243 held by a fixed bush 242 is biassed towards seating 241 in order to close a passage 244. On the end wall 237 a bit 231 is welded, comprising a pair of bit plates 232a, b that are welded to one another while leaving passages 235 free between them, which passages are connected to the chamber 239 by passages 236 in the end wall 237. The bit plates 232a,232b have an almost symmetrical pentagonal shape, wherein of each bit plate one inclined edge forms a bit edge 233a, 233b. With their bottom side both plates extend radially about axially rearwardly oriented support surfaces 231a,231b. Because both plates are slightly offset with respect to one another the other inclined edge 233c,d is situated slightly lower than the added bit edge, in other words, in its shadow, considered in relation to the drill rotation direction A. At that location, between both inclined edges 233a, c and 233b, d holes 234 are provided, which continue the passages 235, so that liquid may exit in the direction I. The ball 240 is urged from the seating 241 , counter the spring force, when the pressure of the liquid supplied through the drill tube exceeds the hydraulic pressure in front of the drill head. If that is not the case the spring 243, which presses the ball 240 against the seating 241, prevents further inflow of liquid (including soil material) in the direction J and K.

The holder 203 is provided with slots 251 a, b that are bounded in forward or distal axial direction by lips 257a, b and in rearward axial direction are bounded by edges 255a, b. The lips 257a, b end in stop surfaces 256a,b. When assembling (figure 5D) the pins 238a, b are brought in front of the insertion sections 252a, b and the drill head 202 is moved in direction L, until the pins 238a, b abut the edges 255a, b. Subsequently the drill head 202 is rotated in the direction M, until the bit 231 abuts the stop surfaces 256a, b, see figure 5E. The lip 257a, b can in this case have sufficient width in axial direction for strength. The pins 238a, b engage onto the edges of the slots 251 a, b over a considerable length.

With part 16 the composite plug 10/11 of figures 6A,B has an engagement point at the top for a tool to move the plug within the tube, should this be necessary. In order to prevent that the plug 11 moves upward with respect to the tube in case of a pressure difference over the plug 11 , the plug 11 is provided with a strip 17 having turned ends 17a, b that are able to engage in the tube wall for fixation against upward movement.

In figures 6A,B the plugs 10 and 11 form an assembly, that can be handled as one unity. The plug 10 comprises a casing 18 that is provided with an internal thread 19, and with a core 20 provided with pilot surfaces defines a ring slot 21 for accommodation of the wall of a heat exchanger.

The heat exchanger 7 can substantially be built up from a tube assembly having an inner tube and an outer tube concentrically surrounding it, wherein a liquid that is to absorb heat from a soil, flows downward through the inner tube and flows upward through an annular space formed between the inner tube and outer tube. In case of discharge of heat to the soil the circulation can be the other way round. At the lower end or distal end an end cap is provided, where the liquid, such as water, can turn and is able to change from the (first) passage in the inner tube to the (second) passage formed by the annular space, or the other way round. At the upper end for both passages a connection is provided to supply and discharge lines, for instance to a heat pump. Advantageous exemplary embodiments of end cap and top connection (entrance/exit cap) are discussed below on the basis of figures 8 and 9. In figure 7A a side view of a first embodiment of an inner tube 71 for a tube assembly 70 is shown. The inner tube 71 is made by extrusion from foamed HDPE with closed cells. The content of open space in there can be approximately 40%. The inner tube 71 , also see figure 7B, has a wall 72 with an inner surface 73 and an outer surface 74, wherein the inner surface 73 defines a first passage 78. At locations that are diametrically opposite each other ribs 75 of the same material are integrally formed therewith. The ribs 75 have flanks 76a, b that converge in radial outward direction. The ribs 75 have end surfaces 77 that are intended to abut the inner surface 91 of the outer tube 90. The outer tube is made from solid HDPE and is thermally conductive. Between the inner surface 91 of the outer tube 90 and the outer surface 74 of the inner tube 71 a second passage 79 is defined, which is divided by the ribs 75 into two partial passages of equal cross-section. As a result of the insulating properties of inner tube 71 and the ribs 75 provided thereon, the liquid flows in the first passage and the second passage are thermally insulated from each other.

By way of example in one embodiment for the outer tube 90 an outer diameter of 63mm (of outer surface 92) can be taken, 54mm for its inner diameter, 7mm for the rib height, 40mm for the outer diameter of the surface 74 of the inner tube (without ribs) and 26 mm for the inner diameter of the inner tube. The (faint) pitch of the helical line of the ribs 75, see figure 7A, may be 185cm for 360 degrees. The pitch or base helix angle β can be less than 20 degrees, preferably less than 10 degrees, for instance approximately 5 degrees or less. The flanks 76a, b can be at an angle of approximately 30 degrees to the radial through the centre of the rib.

In the alternative of figures 7C and 7D largely the same materials and sizes apply. The difference is that the ribs 75' now run parallel to the tube axis (angle β is 0 degrees here) and are increased in number, in order to centre the inner tube 71' and outer tube 90' with respect to each other here as well. In this case three mutually equally large channels are formed in the second passage 79'.

The ratio between the flow-through surface 78;78' within the inner tube and the flow-through surface of the annular space 79;79' can be in the range of approximately 1 :1.5 to 1 :4. Considered in cross-section of the inner tube, the ribs 75; 75' can have a starting width (t= the shortest distance between both points where the flanks or sides of the ribs merge into the outer surface of the inner tube) that is larger than the protruding distance of the ribs (the distance measured in radial direction between a line connecting said points with each other and the radial outer tip or surface of the ribs). In that way the starting width can be almost double the protruding distance. In case of said rib height of 7mm for instance 12 to 14 mm.

In figure 8A the situation corresponding with figure 1D is shown, wherein the concentric tube assembly 7 that is to form the geothermal heat exchanger is dispensed from a roll 700 in the direction P. The tube assembly 7 can be that of either figure 7B or 7D, for instance. As made clear in figure 8B an end cap 93 is welded to the lower edge 90a of the outer tube 90. The inner tube 71 ends at some distance above it.

At the lower end of the end cap 93 a narrowed end section 93b is formed, on which with a bolt 95 the upper ends of two upright strips 96a,b of an anchor 94 have been attached. At the lower end of the strips 96a,b an anchor rod 98 is hinged by means of bolt 97, which rod has two equal anchor arms 98a, b that have each been provided with a bevelled anchor tip 99a,b. During the introduction, see figure 8A, the tube assembly is dispensed from a reel 184 in direction P. The drive of the reel provides the required force for the introduction process. The drill tube forces the tube assembly out of a curved condition, that may be the result of the storage on the reel, to a stretched shape. The anchor rod 98 with anchor arm 98a is able to rotate (U) within the space left free between the two strips 96a, b, so that a small profile is achieved. The bevelled tip 99b prevents jamming against irregularities in the inner surface of the drill tube . When the situation comparable with Figure 1 F is achieved and the drill tube 1 is lifted, too much an upward movement of the lower end 9 of the exchanger 7 is prevented because the anchor tip 99a will tilt, direction V, and will soon engage into the wall of the drill hole, just like tip 99b, all this as indicated in figure 8C.

For that matter, also when no anchor is used, the leaving behind of the heat exchanger 7 in the borehole when lifting the drill tube 1 can be enhanced by filling the heat exchanger with water prior to that. In use, liquid flowing downward (Q) through first passage 78 will turn in the chamber 93a in direction R and then in direction T flow upward in the annular space 79. After the drill tube 1 has been removed the upper end of the heat exchanger 7, in this example built up with tube assembly 70;70' of figures 7B;7D, can be connected to the supply and discharge lines for the heat exchanger liquid. For that purpose use can be made of the splitter cap 400 of figures 9A-E.

Said cap 400, of solid HDPE, comprises a wall 401 that forms a straight through-going third passage 404 and consists of a lower, wide cylindrical portion 401a, a conical portion 401b and an upper narrow cylindrical portion 401c that forms a spout 403. Obliquely from the conical portion a spout 402 extends, which forms a fourth passage 405 that is in connection with a third passage 404.

The inner diameter of the third passage in portion 401a almost corresponds with the outer diameter of the outer tube 90, so that it can be fittingly accommodated therein and then be secured by welding.

When arranging the cap 400, first the inner tube 71 is pulled slightly upward (W), which is enhanced when the tube assembly 70 is filled with water. The upper end of the inner tube 71 then extends in the third passage 404. Then a sleeve 410 is inserted in the direction Y into the spout 403. The sleeve 410 has a lower end with thread 413 and an upper flange 412 and forms a passage 411. The sleeve 410 snugly fits in the passage 406 of spout 403. By means of a tool 420 the sleeve with thread 413 is screwed into the inner tube 71 (optionally the first passage of the inner tube is slightly widened for that purpose), until the inner tube 71 with upper end is situated at the level of the lower end of the conical portion 401b and the flange 412 is in the opening edge of the spout 403.

Then the cap 400 with inner tube 71 is pressed downward again, direction Y, figure 9C, and the wall section 401a slides over the upper end of the outer tube 90. The outer tube 90 then also extends to the lower end of the conical portion 401b, see figure 9E. The sleeve 410 is fluid-sealingly accommodated in the spout 403. Subsequently with the use of adapters the supply and discharge lines 430, 440 are connected, and the various connections are secured by welding. In figure 9E an example of flow direction is given, wherein via line 430, that connects to the sleeve 403, water is supplied in the direction Q and flows through the passage 411 in the first passage 78 of the inner tube 71. At the lower end of the exchanger, for instance in a cap 93, the flow turns and the water goes upward through the second passage 79, direction T, and via the inner space of conical portion 40 b in the spout 405, flows to discharge line 440.

In figure 10 an example of an arrangement for applying a method according to the invention is shown, wherein the device 80 comprises a substructure 81 and a superstructure 82 with an outrigger 83 thereon for a supply roll 84 of heat exchanger 7. The superstructure 82 also bears a mast 85, that is provided with a guide 87 for a drill motor 86, with which the tube 1 can be introduced into the soil and also be removed from it again. At this stage the condition of figure 1C is achieved and the heat exchanger is inserted in the direction E. This is possible by using the drive of a reel on which a storage length of heat exchanger tube is stored and supplied, see figure 8A or, if necessary, using an extra introduction device, such as the device 60' attached on the tube 1. In figures 11A and 11B is an example of a guiding device or pressure/pusher device 60 is shown which is to be attached to the upper end of the inserted tube , with which device a heat exchanger 7 can be pressed into the inside of the tube 1 , direction E. The device 60 comprises a length of tube 61 , which at the top is provided with a sleeve 62 in which a rubber sealing packing seal 62 is attached that engages in the heat exchanger to be introduced. At the outer side of the length of tube 61 three arms 63a, 63b (not shown in figure 11 A, in figure 11 B the arms 63,64 and 65) are attached, of which only the arm 64 is tiltable about pin 66 in the directions N. Above the sleeve 62 the arms have each been provided with a wheel or roller 65, that can only be rotated in the indicated directions. The rollers 65, considered in circumferential direction, are at 120 degrees to each other. In operation the device 60 is clamping-fixedly attached to the upper end of the tube 1 by means of adjustable clamping pins 69, with fixed alignment with respect to the tube 1. Subsequently the leading end of the heat exchanger 7 is taken to the rollers 65, and by means of adjusting pin 67, the outer end 68 of which supports against the length of tube, the position of the roller 65 on the arm 64 is adjusted in the direction O, in order to realise the desired engagement of the rollers 65 onto the heat exchanger 7. Due to the adjustment a correct position of the heat exchanger 7 with respect to the cross-section of the tube 1 is promoted.

The device 60 can be used as guide, for instance when use is made of a reciprocally movable pressure/pressure device, for instance arranged on the drill motor. Alternatively one or more of the rollers 65 can be driven, see device 60' in figure 7B, in which the roller 65a on the fixed arm 65 is driven by a motor attached on the arm 65. In that case a further pressure/pusher device can be dispensed with.

With the invention an as small as possible borehole can be required. The invention can be carried out in all soil types. In loose, particularly granular soil types the borehole will not subside.

The above description is included to illustrate the operation of preferred embodiments of the invention and not to limit the scope of the invention. Starting from the above explanation many variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention will be evident to an expert.

(L/P200PCT des NG 9048)