What are Low-Temperature & Coproduced Resources?
Low-Temperature & 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.
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.
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.