A new high efficiency expander design at the Beowawe Flash plant utilizes optimizes low temperature geothermal fluids to generate an additional 2.5 MW of electric power.
What are Low-Temperature and Coproduced Resources?
Low-temperature and coproduced resources represent a small but growing sector of hydrothermal development in geothermal resources below 150°C (300°F). Considered non-conventional hydrothermal resources, these technologies are bringing valuable returns on investment in the near-term, using unique power production methods.The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) works with industry, academia, and national laboratories to develop and deploy new low-temperature and coproduction technologies that will help the geothermal community achieve widespread adoption of under-utilized low-temperature resources.
The Energy Department recently announced $3 million for research and development to help grow U.S. low-to-moderate-temperature geothermal resources and support a domestic supply of critical materials. To learn more about achievements and initiatives in the low-temperature geothermal sector, following the success stories link at the top right of the page.
Deep Direct Use promotes large scale, commercially viable systems that optimize the value stream of lower temperature resources through a cascade of uses, from electricity generation to direct heating and cooling, industrial and commercial applications, and agricultural uses. Take a look at this new technology under exploration by the Department of Energy.
Low-temperature geothermal energy is defined as heat obtained from the geothermal fluid in the ground at temperatures of 300°F (150°C) or less. These resources are typically used in direct-use applications, such as district heating, greenhouses, fisheries, mineral recovery, and industrial process heating. However, some low-temperature resources can be harnessed to generate electricity using binary cycle electricity generating technology.
Hot geothermal fluid is a byproduct of many oil and gas wells within the United States, and 25 billion barrels of it are produced each year. Historically this hot water has been an inconvenience and a disposal issue; however, it is now being looked at as a resource to produce electricity for field use or to be sold to the grid. These and other co-produced geothermal resources have the potential to produce significant amounts of baseload electricity at low costs and with near zero emissions.
GTO is working toward a goal of achieving widespread production of low-temperature power by 2020 through surface and down-hole technology advances, improved education and outreach, and increased collaboration between government and industry.
Low-Temperature and Coproduced Research and Development Priorities
Low-temperature and coproduced resources represent a small but growing sector of hydrothermal development in geothermal resources below 150°C (300°F). Considered non-conventional hydrothermal resources, these technologies are bringing valuable returns on investment in the near-term, using unique power production methods.GTO's R&D efforts regarding low-temperature geothermal resources are focused on the analysis of resource potential, power production capabilities, improved working fluids, innovative cooling technologies, and oil and gas field coproduction opportunities.
Learn about recent success on new working fluids cut a wider swath of geothermal reserves here, and other details on GTO-funded projects related to low-temperature, coproduced, and geopressured resources.
The April 2013 issue of Power Engineering magazine featured an article by GTO Physical Scientist Tim Reinhardt about New Ways to Produce Geothermal Power at Lower Temperatures.