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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CanGEA Report Claims Geothermal Creates more Jobs than Site C Dam

a recent report by a canadian industry group that is promoting geothermal energy, thermal energy generated and stored in the earth, says geothermal operations can create more permanent jobs than the site c dam in northeastern b.c.

Source: www.journalofcommerce.com

>”According to Geothermal Energy: The Renewable and Cost Effective Alternative to Site C, 1,100 megawatts – the same amount as Site C – of geothermal power projects would create more sustainable employment for surrounding communities.

“While Site C promises only 160 permanent jobs, U.S. Department of Energy statistics indicate that the equivalent amount of geothermal energy would produce 1,870 permanent jobs. This does not include jobs that result from the direct use of geothermal heat, which are also significant.”

However, said Alison Thompson, managing director of Canadian Geothermal Energy Association  (CanGEA), which published the report, geothermal projects would result in fewer construction jobs than the Site C dam.

“Geothermal projects would be spread around the province, not all on one site,” she said. “And, unlike Site C, they would not be built all at once. They would be staggered, with construction beginning in the highest-priority regions first.”

According to Dave Conway, a Site C spokesman, the $7.9 billion project will create about 10,000 person-years of direct construction employment, and 33,000 person-years of total employment during development and construction.

Construction will take about eight years.  This includes seven years for  the construction itself and one year for commissioning, site reclamation and demobilization.

Thompson said geothermal energy has other advantages over hydro.  “For example, geothermal power has a lower unit energy cost and capital cost,” she said.  “And, the physical and environmental footprint of geothermal is small.”

The CanGEA report says the “strategic dispersion” of geothermal projects will have lower transmission costs than Site C.

“There is every reason to believe that, given the thoughtful and (methodical) development of B.C.’s geothermal potential, geothermal power could provide all of B.C.’s future power requirements at a lower cost to ratepayers than the proposed Site C project.” […]

“For the most part, Canada’s geothermal power sector lay dormant for the following two decades while interest in the industry continued to grow outside of Canada’s borders.” […]”<

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Chile’s Mines Run on Renewables

Chilean mines are more and more run on renewable energy, which will soon be bigger than conventional energy in Chile. Thanks to China, writes John Mathews.

Source: www.energypost.eu

>” […] Miners in Chile are building independent solar, solar thermal, wind and geothermal power plants that produce power at costs competitive with or lower than conventional fuel supplies or grid-connected electric power.

Consider these facts.

The Cerro Dominador concentrated solar power (CSP) plant (see here for an explanation of the different solar technologies), rated at 110 megawatts, will supply regular uninterrupted power to the Antofagasta Minerals complex in the dry north of Chile, in the Atacama desert. Construction began in 2014. This is one of the largest CSP plants in the world, utilising an array of mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a power tower, and utilising thermal storage in the form of molten salts, perfected by Spanish company Abengoa. It will supply steady, dispatchable power, day and night.

The El Arrayán wind power project, rated at 115 megawatts, now supplies power to the Los Pelambres mine of Antofagasta Minerals, using Pattern Energy (US) as technology partner. Antofagasta Minerals has also contracted with US solar company SunEdison to build solar panel arrays at the Los Pelambres mine, with a power plant rated at 70 megawatts; while the related plant operated by Amenecer Solar CAP is rated at 100 megawatts, the largest such array in Latin America when it came online in 2014.

There are many more such projects under review or in the pipeline. The Chilean Renewable Energy Center reported in 2014 that the pipeline of renewable power projects in Chile added up to 18,000 megawatts (or 18 gigawatts), which is more than the country’s entire current electric power grid. […]”<

 

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Manufacturer Installs 10 ORC “Machines” to Municipal District Heating System in Europe

RENO, NV–(Marketwired – Aug 7, 2014) – ElectraTherm, a leader in distributed heat to power generation, commissioned 10 Green Machine 4400s in Levice, Slovakia in June 2014.

Source: www.cospp.com

>”[…]The 10-machine installation utilizes the waste heat from two Rolls Royce gas turbines through a combined cycle. Exhaust from the turbines goes through a heat recovery steam generator, and lower temperature exhaust gas that cannot be utilized produces hot water to meet demand for heating on the municipality’s district heating system. The remaining heat runs through ElectraTherm’s Green Machines to generate clean energy and attain attractive feed-in-tariff incentives.

Hot water enters the Green Machine at between 77-116°C (170-240°F), where it heats a working fluid into pressurized vapor, using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and proprietary technologies. As the vapor expands, it drives ElectraTherm’s patented twin screw power block, which spins an electric generator and produces emission free power. Run in parallel, the Green Machines in Levice generate approximately 500 kWe. While combined cycle gas turbines are widely used throughout Europe for power generation and district heating, this is the first application of its kind to utilize ElectraTherm’s ORC technology for the lower temperature waste heat.

The Green Machines help the site reach maximum efficiency levels through heat that would otherwise go to waste. ElectraTherm’s Green Machine generates power from waste heat on applications such as internal combustion engines, biomass, geothermal/co-produced fluids and solar thermal. ElectraTherm’s product line includes units with 35, 65 and 110 kW outputs and offers stand alone or packaged solutions. Read more about Green Machine products at http://electratherm.com/products/.  […]”<

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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.”<

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Renewable Geothermal Power – a Vast & Untapped Energy Resource

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There are no plans for new coal plants to be built in the United States. This opens doors for the geothermal industry possibly more than ever before in U.S. history.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

> Geothermal energy is a renewable source of electricity that has the same important baseload qualities […]  (of coal for) electric power generation in the U.S. at a fraction of the cost.

“Baseload is always better,” […] “[I]t assures a steady revenue stream which is much better for financing.”For a nation that’s thinking to the long term, geo plants are:

Firm. They can run 24 hours a day regardless of extraneous conditions.Flexible. Geothermal’s flow can be load following or allow for imbalance, can provide a spinning reserve or a non-spinning reserve, and works well as replacement or supplemental reserve.

Falcone says of geothermal’s flow options: “By being able to load follow, geothermal can be reduced during low need time and increased without much effort. There is no need to store power that cannot be used. The price of power can be kept lower than other renewables since more of it is sold than the intermittent power sources like wind and solar.”

Falcone adds, “There are now efforts to marry solar with geothermal so that extra power can be produced during sunny peak hours.

“There is no need to invest in fossil fuel to create heat in order to generate power, so the environment is better off.”But today’s solicitations for renewable energy in Western states tend to ignore these unique benefits of geothermal power. Additional long-term analysis shows geothermal plants are:

Small. Geothermal-impacted land in 2030 is expected to be around 7.5 km2/TW-hr/yr, as opposed to 9.7 .5 km2/TW-hr/yr for a coal plant.Hardy. Long-lasting geothermal plants include those at The Geysers in California (since the 1960s) and at the Lardarello field in Italy (since 1904).<

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