Conference paper on geothermal energy now published

Here you can download the pdf (open access):

I will give the talk next week at the 1st Nordic nZEB+ conference in Trondheim, Norway!

Geothermal energy constitutes an important renewable resource that will become increasingly prominent in future constructions. A common method of extraction and usage consists of installing, inside the foundation piles of buildings, U-shaped heat exchangers called ”energy piles”.

In this paper such installations are addressed by means of a full parametric study, performed for a hall-type commercial building in a cold climate. By computing the transient heat transfer between energy piles and ground for a period of 20 years, guidelines for a preliminary sizing of the geothermal system as a whole are provided. These are valid for this specific building and climate, for a clay-type soil and without assuming thermal storage.
A highly nonlinear behaviour of the expected yield in relation to pile separation and evaporator extraction power is observed. Furthermore, 15m-long piles are found to be more efficient than those with double length, a smaller extraction power seems to be more favourable and differences in the pile diameter have little impact for heat transfer. A geothermal system sizing guide, which is useful for a preliminary quantitative test prior to any installation, is introduced. Even though our specific results are valid only for a commercial hall-type building in Finland, our procedure is qualitatively general and can be utilized for any given building type and climate zone.

For a change…paper published in nuclear medicine

This Summer I started a collaboration with the University of Messina (Italy), on a totally different subject from my physics-related research: nuclear medicine and oncology! Here is the first paper in our series (open access):

Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) constitute a diverse group of cancers characterized by heterogeneous biological hallmarks and variable behaviour, from slow-growing and indolent tumours to aggressive and rapidly fatal cancers. Somatostatin analogues (SSAs) provide the first line of their systemic treatment. In this paper we propose a scheduling optimization when SSAs are combined with peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT).

Two conference papers now published

The two conference papers on #energy efficiency in buildings I presented last May at the conference CLIMA 2019, #Bucharest are now published, with open access:

Experimental study of radiator, underfloor, ceiling and air heater systems heat emission performance in TUT nZEB test facility

Annual performance analysis of heat emission in radiator and underfloor heating systems in the European reference room.

New plans for prog rock

Time for an update: I will continue my prog rock project by myself, since everybody else has left (no personal reasons, we’re all still good friends). I have a lot of new material that I shall record in the next weeks; furthermore, some demo recordings with the guys will appear soon on my Soundcloud page.

I am now en force on bass with my friends Echoes From A Great Distance, which means I will finally hit the stage again next Autumn, after a 2 years hiatus.

I am also starting a pop collaboration, where I’ll introduce some progressive and psychedelic elements into a more traditional songwriting. It’s going to be very catchy, stay tuned!

New paper explaining the crack patterns on the surface of heated wood

Our new paper on heated wood seems to confirm our model for a phenomenon that remained unexplained for a few decades.


When a flat sample of medium density fibreboard (MDF) is exposed to radiant heat in an inert atmosphere, primary crack patterns suddenly start to appear over the entire surface before pyrolysis and any charring occurs. Contrary to common belief that crack formation is due to drying and shrinkage, it was demonstrated for square samples that this results from thermomechanical instability. In the present paper, new experimental data are presented for circular samples of the same MDF material. The sample was exposed to radiant heating at 20 or 50 kW/m2, and completely different crack patterns with independent eigenmodes were observed at the two heat fluxes. We show that the two patterns can be reproduced with a full 3‐D thermomechanical surface instability model of a hot layer adhered to an elastic colder foundation in an axisymmetric domain. Analytical and numerical solutions of a simplified 2‐D formulation of the same problem provide excellent qualitative agreement between observed and calculated patterns. Previous data for square samples, together with the results reported in the present paper for circular samples, confirm the validity of the model for qualitative predictions and indicate that further refinements can be made to improve its quantitative predictive capability.

New paper on energy efficiency published

A new paper on the energy efficiency of buildings (here, ice hockey halls) is now published!

Energy analysis in ice hockey arenas and analytical formula for the temperature profile in the ice pad with transient boundary conditions

The energy efficiency of ice hockey arenas is a central concern for the administrations, as these buildings are well known to consume a large amount of energy. Since they are composite, complex systems, solutions to such a problem can be approached from many different areas, from managerial to technological to more strictly scientific. In this paper we consider heat transfer processes in an ice hockey hall, during operating conditions, with a bottom-up approach based upon on-site measurements. Detailed heat flux, relative humidity and temperature data for the ice pad and the indoor air are used for a heat balance calculation in the steady-state regime, which quantifies the impact of each single heat source. We also solve the heat conduction equation for the ice pad in transient regime, and obtain a general analytical formula for the temperature profile that is suitable to practical applications. When applied to the resurfacing process for validation, it shows good agreement with an analogous numerical solution. Since our formula is given with implicit initial condition and boundary conditions, it can be used not only in ice hockey halls, but in a large variety of engineering applications.

New research paper on geothermal energy now published

Our paper discussing the usage of geothermal energy for heating buildings is now published. You can download the full version from the publisher at the following webpage:

Paper on energy efficiency in buildings now published

Our paper “A combined analytical model for increasing the accuracy of heat emission predictions in rooms heated by radiators” is now published on the Journal of Building Engineering. Here is the link to the pdf (free download for the next 50 days):


The efficiency of heat emitters plays an important role in the improvement of building energy performance, especially in the context of system and product comparison. In particular, it can be directly related to thermal comfort via the operative temperature that is effectively sensed by the users.
For the first time in the literature, in this paper we develop a combined analytical model for room and radiator that computes directly the heat output required to maintain a specific operative temperature. The total heat balance of the enclosure is used to accurately quantify and compare the heat emission losses of different radiator types via an analytical calculation of the operative temperature. This determines the efficiency of a selection of panel radiators with different surface temperature, radiation fraction and number of panels, which were tested in a chamber conforming to the EN 442-2 standard.
Additionally, we assess the related annual energy consumption in different climates by carrying out annual simulations in old (without heat recovery) and new (with heat recovery) building types located in Tallinn, Estonia and Strasbourg, France. In the new building we find a similar performance for all the radiators. In the old building however, one radiator outperforms the other two with up to 1.38% lower annual energy consumption, due to smaller rear losses and higher thermal comfort provided by the larger front panel surface.