Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Committee Chair

Nagasree Garapati

Committee Member

Fernando Lima

Committee Member

Debangsu Bhattacharryya


Recent Appalachian Basin Geothermal Play Fairway Analysis estimated elevated heat flows in north-central West Virginia. This region provides an optimal and unique combination of elevated temperatures and flow necessary for geothermal development along with year-round surface demand for heating and cooling on the campus. Therefore, West Virginia University’s (WVU’s) Morgantown campus has been identified as a prime location in the eastern United States for the development of a geothermal direct-use heating and cooling application. The objective of this study was to perform a feasibility analysis for the development of a geothermal district heating and cooling (GDHC) system for WVU campus in Morgantown, WV, to replace the current coal-fired steam heating and cooling system. A hybrid GDHC system is proposed to replace the existing system based on the data collected the project period from the existing district heating and cooling (DHC) facilities and Aspen simulations were conducted to analyze two scenarios for the design of a heating and cooling system at WVU’s Morgantown campus and calculate surface plant capital costs. Scenario 1 would supply superheated steam to the entire campus and Scenario 2 would deliver saturated steam to the Health Sciences and Evansdale campuses. The overall economics of the geothermal system was performed using modified GEOPHIRES. For the two scenarios considered, geothermal contribution to the heating and cooling on WVU campus is around 2.30 to 2.43% and 4.05 to 4.39% for hybrid geothermal system and improved hybrid geothermal system with heat pump, respectively. Currently, WVU pays $15/MMBTU for steam supplied by the Morgantown Energy Associates (MEA) coal-fired power plant. Utilizing the existing pipeline distribution system, this study results yielded the levelized cost of heat (LCOH) for the two scenario designs in the ranges of 7.55 to 10.90 $/MMBTU for vertical well configuration and 7.77 to 11.60 $/MMBTU for horizontal well configuration which is well below the current price for steam supplied by MEA. To address uncertainty related to the distribution systems, LCOH was calculated in GEOPHIRES for a case where existing pipelines are to be purchased from MEA and for an instance where a new set of pipelines are to be installed by WVU. Purchasing or installing new pipeline distribution facilities if existing pipeline networks are not donated by MEA resulted in LCOH in the range of 8.50 to 14.08 $/MMBTU which shows that LCOH values increase with additional capital cost for the distribution pipelines. However, the range of LCOH values calculated for the natural gas fired boiler (NGFB) system without geothermal (5.65 to 7.46 $/MMBTU) is comparably lower than the range of values obtained for the proposed hybrid GDHC system. Nevertheless, the proposed hybrid GDHC system for WVU can provide clean energy to replace the existing MEA coal-fired, steam-based system; hence, providing an alternative to offset the impacts from fossil fuels consumption. Further, analysis of the future price of fuel showed that proposed hybrid system will be more economical compared to NGFB at a natural price of about $15.00/1000ft3.