The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association held its Conference & Expo 2011 Oct. 5-6 in Tulsa, Okla.  

The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) held its Conference & Expo 2011 Oct. 5-6 in Tulsa, Okla.  The group is committed to advancing ground source heat pump technology on local, state, national and international levels, and all signs point to a successful long-term campaign. Its leadership seems strong, dedicated and both forward-thinking and pragmatic. This is evidenced by its increased embrace of the drilling side of the industry.

It was heartening to walk into the exhibit hall and see all that iron. Astec Underground, Geoprobe Systems, Gus Pech Mfg., Laibe Corp., Schramm Inc., SIMCO and Vermeer all brought rigs to the show, which made an impressive sight for visitors. Also fortifying drilling’s increased stature in the geo industry family was IGSHPA’s decision to boost the amount drilling-related educational programming offered. Some of the highlights:

  • “Making Ground Loops Attractive,” presented by Dominic Durbin of Durbin Enterprises Inc., who provided an overview of how the many and important benefits of a cleaner, safer and more efficient jobsite is worth the overhead costs associated with equipment such as diverters and cyclones.

  • Wyo-Ben’s Stuart Krause delivered a presentation titled, “Disposal of Spent Drilling Fluids & Produced Water.” This can present a slippery slope for drilling contractors – in some markets, spent drill cuttings can be considered industrial waste.

  • “Making Drilling Water Crystal Clear: It’s Easier than You Think!” was the topic covered by Todd Giddings, principal of Todd Giddings & Associates Inc. He taught how to set up a temporary water treatment system using polyacrylamide to deal with muddy water.

  • Giddings also covered “Borehole Thermal Performance Testing of HDPE vs. PEX Pipe,” which showed the drilling and loop installation process for four different borings.

  • Kevin Reimer of Sonic Drilling Corp. presented “How to Grow Your Geothermal Business Using Sonic Technology.” He shared with attendees how sonic drilling techniques can drill, case, loop and grout in a single step.

  • Baroid’s Kevin Kash tackled “Thermally Enhanced Grout – It’s the Sand Man.” Grouts used for geothermal heat loop installations should have high thermal conductivity characteristics, along with the necessary sealing abilities. Kash spoke of the proper mixing ratios, operator error and the correct sand needed to achieve a certain thermal conductivity.

  • National Ground Water Association president-elect John Pitz participated in the “U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program” session, which provided a summary of DOE projects awarded under Recovery Act funding for geothermal heat pump systems.

There were dozens of other valuable educational sessions provided, all of which were designed to further the cause of ground source heat pumps. And all the state-of-the-art products, equipment and tools were showcased in an exhibit hall filled with more than 80 vendors, so there was ample opportunity for visitors to stay on top of the latest developments in this fast-evolving industry.

IGSHPA continues to grow in both size and scope, and the industry offers an excellent opportunity for drilling contractors looking to expand their market base. We look forward to drilling’s cachet within geothermal increasing even further in the future. It’s been proven time and again that the more the drilling industry is involved with something, the better off that endeavor becomes.

When we have the details on IGSHPA’s next conference and exposition, we’ll pass all of that along.