Earth air tunnel heat exchanger (EATHE) is a capable and quite simple passive technique which may be utilized for space cooling/heating using the constant temperature of underground subsoil. However, it could not gain much attraction as a heating/cooling system as it requires larger trench lengths to accommodate longer pipes. Larger trench lengths involve huge excavation cost and a sufficiently large piece of land. The length of the trench needed can be reduced substantially by adopting a proper pipe layout. In the present study, the performance of U-shaped, slinky-coil, and helical-coil pipe layouts of an EATHE system is compared numerically using ANSYS FLUENT 15.0. Results reveal that the temperature drop and heat transfer rate per unit trench length are higher in the slinky-coil pipe layout than in U-shaped and helical-coil pipe layouts. After 12 h of continuous operation, the effectiveness of the EATHE system with U-shaped, slinky-coil, and helical-coil pipe layouts is obtained as 0.60, 0.80, and 0.78, respectively. The study reveals that the selection of pipe layout for the EATHE system mainly depends on temperature drop EATHE is capable of giving, heat transfer rate, pumping power required, and ease of fabrication and installation as all these factors directly affect the initial and recurring capital investment for the EATHE system.

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