Micro Geothermal Power Generation
Historically, sources of low temperature geothermal, such as hot springs and co-produced fluids, were considered uneconomical for power generation. However, thanks to advances in organic Rankine cycle technology, these sources can now cost effectively generate fuel-free, emission-free power.
In many geothermal zones, such as New Zealand and Indonesia, the geothermal sources present can not support the development of large scale infrastructure. With ElectraTherm’s heat to power solutions these sources can now be utilized with compact ORC systems leaving a minimal footprint.
Ideal applications have a water source that is easily accessible (i.e. spas) or has been drilled for another purpose (i.e. gas wells). All that is needed is connection to the grid anda heat exchanger between the source.
ElectraTherm’s systems use these more abundant, lower temperature geothermal sources to generate up to 125 kWe of fuel-free, emission-free power. Taking advantage of micro-geothermal utilizes local resources for a reliable, clean baseload power supply.
Factors That Make A Successful Application
For Geothermal applications, a heat exchanger is implemented between the system and source, the water must be clean for our system. In doing so, this reduces the amount of thermal energy, ideal geothermal applications will have source temperatures between 90°C and 150°C.
LOCATION / ACCESS
Ideal micro geothermal projects have easy access to their water source, easy connection to the grid, or are wanting to use ORC heat recovery as a compliment to an existing system. The benefits of an expander-based system allows for power generation regardless of flow and heat fluctuations.
Installing an ElectraTherm ORC heat recovery system to take advantage of geothermal heat comes with several benefits, primarily the ability to reliably generate power with a minimal footprint – opening up new possibilities across numerous industries. While many locations offer kickbacks for generating renewable power, applications see the most success where electricity costs are greater than $0.10/kWh.
A major source of geothermal power potential are co-produced fluids. Co-produced fluids contain a mixture of hot water produced as a byproduct during the extraction of oil and gas.
Our fuel? Hot water. While co-produced fluids have previously been considered a nuisance to operators due to their costly removal and inability to generate power using traditional steam processes, ElectraTherm’s ORC heat to power solutions can utilize heat as low as 70°C to generate clean electricity that can either be used to offset energy costs or sold to the grid.
This provides an excellent opportunity to innovative investors in the oil and gas industry. By taking advantage of this renewable resource with existing infrastructure you can extend the economic viability of oil and gas operations, improve your bottom line, and add a renewable source of energy to your power portfolio. With an estimated 7 barrels of hot water produced for every barrel of oil, the potential is real.
For more information download “Future Success Of Low Temperature Micro Geothermal Power Generation”, written for the 42nd New Zealand Geothermal Workshop.
Successful Demonstration with the U.S. Department of Energy
Installed at a gold mining operation in Nevada, ElectraTherm’s ORC micro-geothermal system completed a successful demonstration in partnership with the DOE. The system, providing up to 75 kWe gross, was packaged as a containerized solution for easy integration and transportation.
The result of the project was the successful demonstration of utilizing a low temperature geothermal source that was monitored remotely and was easy to maintain. Operators looking to produce electricity parallel to their existing operations now have a reliable, affordable option to do so.
Generating Useful Thermal and Profitable Power
Commissioned on a geothermal well in Romania, the Power+ Generator produces 50 kWe without any additional fuel or emissions. On top of generating clean electricity supported by attractive feed-in-tariffs, additional thermal energy goes on to heat nearby buildings during the winter months.
“The Power+ captures geothermal heat to generate power at temperatures and flows most ORC technologies cannot attain. The robustness of the machine and ease of installation make this application easily repeatable for the vast low-temperature geothermal resources available in Romania and Hungary.”
– Mike Olari, President of Energy Power Holdings
Generating Useful Thermal and Profitable Power
Commissioned on a district heating system utilizing geothermal heat from an onsen, ElectraTherm’s ORC heat to power system acts a baseload power supply – providing a continuous source of power up to 60 kWe. With Japan’s feed-in-tariff rate for Geothermal at 40 Yen/kW ($.33/kW), there’s a strong opportunity for profit.
“The Power+ Generator solves a problem at the onsen – cooling down water that is otherwise too hot, while also generating profit for the site. The minimal impact to the property, the quiet sound profile, and the small footprint and distance from the public eye make this a virtually hidden gem for the site, serving as a resource and providing a fixed profit at an onsen that has been in operation for many years, and will continue for many more.”
– Yoshimaro Shimojo, Owner of BBA Consulting