What IP is protected by the patent?
The "In ground geothermal heat pump
system" was granted U.S patent number 7,617,697 effective Nov
17, 2009, including a patent term adjustment of 262 days.
The patent was granted 19 claims covering present and future heat pump, and a/c configurations, disposed in a container, a portion of which is below a regional "frost Line", and accessible from the top of the container...
The objective is to transition the existing hvac units into geothermal heat pumps, by replacing old hvac units with ground source heat pumps as they wear out every 15 - 20 years.
The existing configuration of GHP units is impractical to use as replacement units for air source heat pumps.
Create a GHP replacement unit that interfaces the hvac system similar to the replaced outdoor air source heat pump unit.
A GHP located outdoors will freeze, damaging the fluid components, the antifreeze solution only protects down to 18 deg F. A higher antifreeze solution will diminish efficiency, thereby defeating the purpose of the objective
Throughout the U.S., 24" to 40" below the surface of the ground, the temperature never drops below 32 deg F, and the contents in a sealed container disposed in that space will not freeze, even when the power is off .