Oil Well Waste Water Used to Generate Geothermal Power

The team took off-the-shelf geothermal generators and hooked them to pipes carrying boiling waste water. They’re set to flip the switch any day. When they do, large pumps will drive the steaming water through the generators housed in 40-foot (12-meter) containers, producing electricity that could either be used on site or hooked up to power lines and sold to the electricity grid.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.bloomberg.com

>”Oil fracking companies seeking to improve their image and pull in a little extra cash are turning their waste water into clean geothermal power.

For every barrel of oil produced from a well, there’s another seven of water, much of it boiling hot. Instead of letting it go to waste, some companies are planning to harness that heat to make electricity they can sell to the grid.

Companies such as Continental Resources Inc. and Hungary’s MOL Group are getting ready to test systems that pump scalding-hot water through equipment that uses the heat to turn electricity-generating turbines before forcing it back underground to coax out more crude.

Though the technology has yet to be applied broadly, early results are promising. And if widely adopted, the environmental and financial benefits could be significant. Drillers in the U.S. process 25 billion gallons (95 billion liters) of water annually, enough to generate as much electricity as three coal-fired plants running around the clock — without carbon emissions.

“We can have distributed power throughout the oil patch,” said Will Gosnold, a researcher at the University of North Dakota who’s leading Continental Resources’ project well.

Geothermal power also holds out the promise of boosting frackers’ green credentials after years of criticism for being the industry’s worst polluters, says Lorne Stockman, research director at Oil Change International, an environmental organization that promotes non-fossil fuel energy.

“This is one way to make it look like the industry cares about the carbon issue,” he said. Even if steam generates less carbon than other oil field power sources, “if you’re in the business of oil and gas, you’re not part of the solution.”

Cheap Oil

Then there’s the money. With crude at less than $50 a barrel, every little bit can help lower costs. At projects like the one being tested by Continental Resources in North Dakota, a 250 kilowatt geothermal generator has the potential to contribute an extra $100,000 annually per well, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Department.

That’s not big money and the $3.4 million cost to test the technology is still too much to apply to each of Continental’s hundreds of wells. Yet if the company can lower the costs of the technology, it will not only generate electricity it will also extend the economic life of wells, making them more profitable, said Greg Rowe, a production manager with Continental Resources. […]”<

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A New Era for Geothermal Energy in Alberta?

Standard thinking for decades has been that geothermal technology is too costly and inefficient to be a significant source of energy. But a growing number of experts say the time may be right for geothermal to assume a higher profile, especially in ‘perfectly situated’ Alberta.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.cbc.ca

>” […] The economics of renewable energy projects are improving as governments begin to introduce carbon taxes and other fees on large carbon-emitting facilities, such as coal power plants.

Geothermal power plants turn hot water into electricity. Companies drill underground for water or steam similar to the process of drilling for oil. The heat is brought to the surface and used to spin turbines. The water is then returned underground.

“I think Alberta is perfectly situated to make the technology work,” said Todd Hirsch, chief economist with ATB Financial. “All the geothermal energy experts say it is all wrong for Alberta. You have to go down so deep to get any heat. Well actually, we have experience drilling through four miles [6.4 km] worth of rock to get at other things that are valuable.”

Hirsch describes geothermal as “a perfectly green, perfectly renewable source of electricity.” He also suggests geothermal could be a boon for the province, where companies have had a knack for developing “marginal resources” such as the oilsands.

“I think geothermal energy might be one that Alberta wants to champion specifically because it doesn’t work here,” said Hirsch. “If we can make it work here in Alberta, then it is a cinch to sell the technology to the Chinese and the Germans and everyone elsewhere geothermal doesn’t work.” […]

What are the costs?

Geothermal power plants cost more money than natural gas facilities. For some perspective, consider the Neal Hot Springs plant in Oregon that was constructed in 2012 for $139 million for 22 megawatts of production.

The Shepard natural gas power plant in Calgary began operating this year with a total cost of $1.4 billion for 800 megawatts of electricity. In this comparison, the geothermal facility costs three times as much per megawatt of power.

Enbridge, a part-owner of the Neal Hot Springs plant, has said the plant saves about 159,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide emissions compared to a similar-sized natural gas facility, and about more than 340,000 tonnes per year compared to a coal power plant.

Coal facilities supply nearly 40 per cent of electricity in Alberta.

While the NDP government has yet to announce a specific policy, the party ran on a campaign platform in the recent election pledging to phase out coal.

Premier Rachel Notley has announced an increase to the province’s carbon pricing rules and is expected to announce significant climate change policies this year. Such changes improve the economics of renewable energy projects, such as geothermal.

“It requires a long-term vision to develop,” said Dunn. “How much do we want to invest in the future?” “<

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Geothermal Energy Projects in BC Show Economic Promise

Two potential geothermal energy projects near Pemberton could generate electricity for about seven cents a kilowatt hour — only slightly higher than the 5.8 cents to 6.1 cents a kilowatt hour cost estimate of the Site C dam project.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.edmontonjournal.com

>” […]  There are no geothermal energy projects operating in B.C. but the study estimated the cost per kilowatt hour for the nine sites would range from 6.9 to 7.1 cents for Pebble Creek and Meager Creek near Pemberton to 17.6 cents for Clarke Lake near Fort Nelson.

BC Hydro senior strategic technology specialist Alex Tu said some of the projects appear promising but stressed the cost estimates are still “very uncertain” and carry a lot of risk.

“Even though it says seven cents a kilowatt hour, it’s still a risky proposition,” he said. “All the geothermal in the province is still looked at as very uncertain and very high risk but if you can make the project happen, seven cents is a good price.”

Tu noted BC Hydro invested tens of millions of dollars drilling at the two Pemberton area sites in the 1970s and 1980s but could only produce enough steam for a 20-kilowatt demonstration facility that operated for 18 months.

Geothermal power facilities work by drilling into the earth and redirecting steam or hot water into turbines that convert the energy from the fluid into electricity.

Tu said Hydro has always been open to geothermal power as an alternative energy source but no geothermal projects have ever been submitted to Hydro in any of its calls for power from independent power producers.

Hydro’s standing offer program offers to pay producers $100 a megawatt hour for smaller energy projects of up to 15 megawatts. The two Pemberton area geothermal sites each have estimated capacities of 50 to 100 megawatts.

Borealis GeoPower chief geologist Craig Dunn, whose Calgary-based firm hopes to build two geothermal power plants in B.C. by 2018, said he was excited by the Kerr Wood study, which was commissioned by BC Hydro and Geoscience BC.

“I think it’s a giant step forward in recognizing that geothermal is a viable energy opportunity for the province of British Columbia,” he said.

Dunn said the drilling and turbine technology associated with geothermal power continues to improve, making that form of energy more economically viable than ever.

“As a private developer, I know that my costs are significantly less than the estimates,” he said.

Tu estimated the cost of the two proposed Borealis geothermal sites near Valemount and Terrace at about $120 to $140 a megawatt hour but Dunn said current drilling economics — with many drilling rigs now inactive due to the oil industry slowdown — could cut that estimate by 25 to 50 per cent.  […]”<

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Geothermal Energy Could Cleanly Power the Planet

The Earth’s heat offers a clean and steady source of electricity, though it doesn’t come cheap.

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

>” […]

An alternative to fossil fuels, geothermal has potential far beyond Indonesia. It could help tame global warming by producing copious amounts of renewable energy. The United Nations estimates global reserves at about 200 gigawatts—double the total capacity of all U.S. nuclear power plants. Yet despite decades of effort, only 6.5 percent of that potential has been tapped.

Indonesia’s story explains why.

Volcanoes Offer Peril and Promise

A chain of more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia has dozens of active volcanoes—more than any other country. Those volcanoes offer the nation a potent energy source via deep underground reservoirs of hot water that seeps out of molten rock. Power plants can extract steam from those reservoirs and use it to turn turbines that generate electricity. […]

Indonesia currently produces the third largest amount of geothermal power, after the U.S. and the Philippines. Still, it’s tapping less than 5 percent of its potential 29-gigawatt capacity. It has 62 projects under way, and if all get built, Indonesia could overtake the Philippines by the end of this year and the U.S. in another decade or two, according to a 2015 industry analysis by the Washington-based Geothermal Energy Association. (See related blog post: “Nicaragua Looks to Geothermal for Energy Independence.”)

“Its resources are so startlingly good,” says Paul Brophy, president of EGS Inc., a California-based firm that recently did consulting work for Indonesia’s government on the geothermal industry.

The country, aiming to triple geothermal output from 1.4 to 4.9 gigawatts by 2019and to hit 10 gigawatts by 2025, is trying to fast-track projects.

Last year it amended a law to stop defining geothermal development as “mining” and thus allow work in protected forests, where many resources are located. The revision also shifts project approval from local to federal officials.

“That’s critical,” Brophy says, noting that the central government has more geothermal expertise.

Implementing the new provisions will take time, says Josh Nordquist of U.S.-based Ormat Technologies, which has invested in geothermal projects in Indonesia. Doing so could be a “real burden” for the government, he says, but adds, “I believe in the end it will work.” […]”<

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Renewable Geothermal Power with Oil and Gas Coproduction Technology may be Feasible

The U.S. has been harnessing geothermal energy since 1960 and if recently announced research projects and startups are successful, even more geothermal power might soon be available.

Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

>” […]  in the past, wastewater from oilfield production processes was viewed as a nuisance byproduct that needed to be disposed of. But new research has shown that much of the 25 billion barrels of this geothermally heated “wastewater” produced at oil wells each year in the U.S. is hot enough to produce electricity. It is estimated that many of the wells might have clean energy capacities of up to 1 MW.

Oil and Gas Coproduction in the US

In 2008, the DOE developed the first low-temperature geothermal unit in an oil field at the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC) in Wyoming. The well is producing energy and has a capacity of approximately 217 kW. RMOTC continues to test power units produced by Ormat Technologies and UTC/Pratt and Whitney Power Systems at the center and more than 30 oil firms have visited the center to learn about coproduction technology. The technology is also being implemented in Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas.

In Nevada, Florida Canyon Mining Inc. is using the 220°F groundwater in a coproduction project that uses ElectraTherm’s 50-kW waste heat generators, aka “Green Machines” to generate electricity.

Energy can be harnessed at working oilfields and used to power them without interrupting their operation. A Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE) coproduction project at the Denbury oilfields in Laurel, Mississippi, is using this technique again with ElectraTherm Green Machines.  It replaced Denbury’s electric submersible pump and cut electricity costs by a third. GCGE has a second 50-kW geothermal natural gas coproduction project in Louisiana.

University of North Dakota was awarded $1.7 million through the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Program to install a geothermal Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system at another oilfield operated byDenbury. For two years the plant will be used to develop engineering and economic models for geothermal ORC energy production. The technology could be used throughout the Williston Basin.

Liberty County Pilot Project

Texas is oil country, and the 4000+ dormant oil and gas wells speckled across the landscape provide a new, or perhaps recycled, frontier in geothermal energy production.  To tap some of that energy,Universal GeoPower CEO and petroleum geologist George Alcorn Jr. and his partner, Chris Luchini, a PhD physicist will use the $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds that they were awarded to bring geothermal energy to Liberty County, Texas. The company said that to prepare its DOE application, it worked with Southern Methodist University. The university has performed extensive research on coproduction and has found that it is applicable to an estimated 37,500 oil and gas wells in the Gulf Coast region.

Universal GeoPower’s pilot project is expected to be one of many that will recomplete the wells to produce low temperature, geopressured brine water. The brine will run through a commercial off-the-shelf turbo expander and an ORC binary generator.

Alcorn spoke recently at GEA’s global geothermal meeting in Washington, DC, offering a snapshot of the economic benefits of the process. “The lead-time to revenue generation is about 6 months, whereas traditional geothermal can take up to five years,” he said. “The wells already have known geothermal potential, and capital costs are dramatically reduced.”

Additionally, Alcorn noted, units are installed at existing oil wells, eliminating the need for investment in drilling, new roads or transmission lines. […]”<

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Renewable Geothermal Power Expands in Nevada

Geothermal energy is a growing industry, with more plants going into Nevada’s mostly untapped resource.

Source: www.ktvn.com

Geothermal energy is a growing type of clean energy, and nowhere is that more true than in Nevada. Ormat Technologies has built a geothermal plant every year since 2005.  […]

“This is what the future is going to bring,” Gawell said. “You will see more and more of this in years ahead and it is already a boom for Reno.”

The Steamboat Complex is a binary plant that takes hot water from deep underground, to produce power.

“We convert the heat that’s in the fluid to electrical energy,” Bob Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Ormat Technologies said. “Then we put all the fluids back into the ground where it gets reheated. So, it’s a sustainable cycle.”  […]

Along with electricity, these facilities create economic development, putting hundreds of people to work, drilling wells and building the plants.   About 500 people have permanent jobs with Ormat, in the United States.  Another 500 people work for the company around the world.

“It’s a job engine,” Sullivan said. “It takes a lot of maintenance. It takes a lot of people. It takes a lot of workers, a lot of subcontractors to keep one of these facilities running.”

While the cost of fossil fuels goes up and down, geothermal stays steady. The fuel cost is upfront, in the form of drilling wells. Gawell says what is lost in capital and labor costs is saved in fuel costs. […]”<

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Geothermal Energy: Superior to Natural Gas for Powering the Electrical Grid

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Geothermal resources provide about 3,440 MW of power to the United States electrical grid as of early 2014.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>”In a recent report, the Geothermal Energy Association explored geothermal power’s unique values that make it essential to the U.S. energy mix.  These plants have the same important baseload qualities coal now provides for over two thirds of the electric power generation in the nation.  Geothermal can be a high-value substitute for baseload fossil fuel or nuclear power plants, providing firm, clean power 24 hours a day regardless of extraneous conditions.

“As state and national policies move to significantly reduce climate changing power emissions, geothermal is a baseload clean energy that can replace baseload fossil fuels at a minimum cost to the power system,” says Karl Gawell, GEA’s executive director.

Gawell explains that as the grid uses more variable energy resources, which it most certainly will, the flexibility of geothermal energy is an attribute that regulators are still learning about.  “Flexible geothermal can help firm the system, allowing for imbalance, and is able to provide supplemental reserve,” he adds.

The U.S. continues to make strides toward a cleaner energy mix largely through wind and solar contracts to meet goals of state Renewable Portfolio Standards. This creates a greater need for firming power, and although geothermal can provide this as well, it could get lost in the mix if natural gas becomes a fallback to offset intermittency.

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama called natural gas “the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” Geothermal energy, too, provides the same stabilizing function as natural gas and comes with unique environmental and economic ancillary benefits. Ancillary services support the transmission of electricity from a supplier to a purchaser and include scheduling and dispatch, reactive power and voltage control, loss compensation, load following, system protection, and energy imbalance.

A geothermal plant can be engineered to optimize these services. In most geothermal plants built today, operators can increase or decrease the amount of power being generated in order to match load requirements — such as making up for gaps caused by intermittency.   Geothermal energy and natural gas play a similar role to the power grid with the capability to dispatch, or to change a facility’s power output by ramping up or down depending on system needs.”<

See on www.renewableenergyworld.com

Geothermal Energy: Iceland could provide renewable energy to the UK

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Under plans currently being discussed by both the UK and Icelandic governments, renewable electricity could be provided by Iceland to the UK at a cheaper cost than offshore wind.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The plans being discussed by the two governments concern a 1,000km undersea cable with a capacity of 1GW. The package is worth an estimated £4 billion with the inclusion of related generation and onshore transmission investments and could be operational by 2022.  […]

 

At present, Iceland benefits from some of the lowest electricity prices in Europe given that much of their renewable energy comes from hydroelectricity and geothermal. […] the interconnector could provide power to the UK at around 60 to 70 percent of the price of offshore wind and that whichever way you look at it there are big potential benefits. However, in order to be successful, the Icelandic government must also convince their own citizens that there are also benefits for Iceland and there are concerns that exposure to a larger market could increase domestic energy prices.<

See on www.renewableenergymagazine.com

U.S. Geothermal Inc. Announced Final Completion of Neal Hot Springs Power Plant

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BOISE, IDAHO, Aug 01, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — U.S. Geothermal Inc., (nyse mkt:HTM) CA:GTH -1.96% a leading renewable energy company focused on the development, production, and sale of electricity from geothermal energy, announced () that Final Completion of the 22 megawatt (net) Neal Hot Springs Project has been achieved.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The Neal Hot Springs Project was the first geothermal project to obtain a loan guarantee under the DOE’s Title XVII loan guarantee program, which was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support the deployment of innovative clean energy technologies. The DOE loan guarantee, guarantees a loan from the U.S. Treasury’s Federal Financing Bank. The project was authorized for a loan guarantee of up to $96.8 million.

The Neal Hot Springs project deployed a first of its kind binary cycle process, utilizing a supercritical cycle that uses R134a refrigerant as the working fluid, as well as pre-fabricated modular construction of major plant components. […]

The project is selling electricity to Idaho’s largest utility, Idaho Power Company, under a previously signed 25-year power purchase agreement for up to 25 megawatts of power per year. Beginning in 2012, the base energy price is $96 per MW Hour and escalates annually. The calculated 25-year levelized price is $117.65 per MW hour.<

See on www.marketwatch.com

MHI Completes Acquisition of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems

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Tokyo, May 20, 2013 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has completed its acquisition of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, the small and medium-size gas turbine business unit of Pratt & Whitney (P&W), an aeroengine manufacturer.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>MHI has traditionally focused its gas turbine business on large-capacity, high-efficiency systems. With the addition of PWPS’s small and medium-size aero-derivative engines, MHI has expanded its power generation product portfolio and is able to offer customers a full product lineup.

PWPS’s aero-derivative gas turbines are highly acclaimed, especially for their emergency power generation applications, compact design, and rapid start-up time. More than 1,700 aero-derivative turbines have been delivered worldwide. Significant growth is anticipated in applications that require a flexible power source complementary to a renewable-energy power source. Robust market demand is also expected as small power sources for applications in emerging markets. PWPS’s main product has been the 30MW (megawatt) class machine. The company is developing an innovative 60MW class model, which is expected to significantly boost PWPS’s market share.

Turboden’s ORC turbines have the capability to generate power or supply hot water using a relatively low-temperature heat source such as biomass, factory waste heat or geothermal energy. The company has sold more than 300 units in 20 countries, primarily in Europe. In Japan, increasing opportunities are emerging to use ORC technology in biomass and geothermal applications, and MHI plans to significantly increase sales in those expanding markets.

MHI and P&W have been in a collaborative relationship in aeroengine production for many years. After the acquisition of PWPS, MHI will continue to collaborate with P&W in the supply of engine parts for gas turbines and development of new machines.<

See on www.mhi.co.jp