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A new start-up in the field of geothermal energy

September 16, 2021 | Audrey-Maude Vézina

Update : June 22, 2022

Two INRS community members aim to optimize geothermal systems for buildings’ heating and cooling.

Installation of heating cable and temperature sensors in trench

Master’s student Hubert Langevin and former postdoctoral fellow Nicolò Giordano have decided to launch a start-up called Géotherma Solutions Inc. in a field they are passionate about.

The young researchers have both worked in the team of Professor Jasmin Raymond at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS). During their respective studies, they were able to collaborate on several projects and thus develop their entrepreneurial skills.

A need for optimization

In the course of their work, Nicolò Giordano and Hubert Langevin noticed that few companies offered consulting and optimizing services for shallow geothermal systems.

“Many firms design geothermal systems, but they tend to neglect the geological aspects. Yet the characteristics of the underground are what allow the optimization of the whole system.”

Nicolò Giordano, former postdoctoral fellow

This optimization reduces the costs related to this type of heating or cooling, which is 2 to 5 times more efficient and ecological than others on the market, such as electric baseboard heaters and air-source heat pumps.

The young enterprise could therefore assist companies in the design and development of the geothermal systems. “Depending on the client’s needs, we can perform field work and measure the thermal properties of rocks and soils. In addition to data analysis and interpretation, we can also offer a customized service including numerical simulations for more complex projects,” explains Hubert Langevin.

“For example, some thermal response tests require a small excavation. We then install heating cables and temperature sensors. The data obtained allows us, among other things, to estimate the amount of energy that can be extracted or injected from or into the ground and, depending on the energy demand of a building. We can also determine the appropriate length of heat exchangers,” adds Nicolò Giordano.

A valuable partnership

Professor Jasmin Raymond acted as a mentor in the creation of the start-up, in addition to providing a vast network of contacts with the various geothermal actors in Quebec. It was important for the Géotherma Solutions team to continue this collaboration, both in terms of research and development.

“We can benefit from INRS’s expertise in geothermal energy, as well as its tools for analysis and expertise in field work.”

Hubert Langevin, master’s student

The two co-founders also plan to participate in programs such as Futurpreneur Canada, which offers financing and mentoring for new businesses. Professor Raymond will continue to support the company as a volounteer mentor for the program, as well as participate in the development of its founders.

Although the two entrepreneurs are just completing the administrative processes to launch their start-up, many potential clients have already shown interest.

INRS wishes them the best of luck for the future!

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