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As More Buildings Go Geothermal, Project Teams Are Thinking Outside the Borehole

Publication Date: 11/25/2009
Author: Tudor Van Hampton
Format: HTML

An article titled the “Fireless Furnace” appeared in the Oct. 25, 1948, issue of LIFE magazine. There, postwar America witnessed the emergence of a futuristic technology that Lord Kelvin, the king of cold, only dreamed about a century earlier. The fireless furnace avoided burning fossil fuels by piping water through coils in the ground and then through a heat pump. But the technology was too expensive—about $3,000 installed—and too new to gain acceptance. “However, as the efficiency of getting heat from the earth improves, it is almost certain that eventually the heat pump will be able to compete successfully with conventional heaters in most localities,” said the story.

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