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SYSTEMS FOR ELECTRICAL POWER FROM CO-PRODUCED

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SYSTEMS FOR ELECTRICAL POWER FROM CO-PRODUCED AND LOW TEMPERATURE GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES Timothy Reinhardt, U.S. DOE, Geothermal Technologies Program, Washington, D.C. Lyle A. Johnson, Rocky Mountain Oil Test Center, Casper, Wyoming Neil Popovich, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado ABSTRACT The Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP), the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC), and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) are working together to advance the production of power from coproduced and low temperature geothermal resources. To this end, and through a collaborative effort, RMOTC is being used as a test-bed for promising low temperature geothermal power production technologies. These technologies produce electricity by leveraging existing oil and gas field infrastructure as well as the resource geofluid which is coproduced in the process of harvesting hydrocarbons. GTP is providing the direction and oversight for the work. RMOTC is providing the facility, resource and manpower to operate the test units, while NREL is providing the technical analysis and insight to help overcome challenges currently faced with low temperature geothermal power production systems. Details of the role of each participant are given in the paper. Presently, the initial geothermal power production unit being tested under the collaborative program is an air- cooled nominal 250 kW Ormat unit installed at RMOTC. To date, the total produced power from the unit is 1,918 megawatt hours of power from 10.9 million barrels of coproduced hot water. The online percentage for the unit, eliminating downtime caused by field activities, has been at 97%. This Ormat unit will continue to be operated at RMOTC for an additional 2 years under the collaborative agreement with DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Program. Additionally, infrastructure at the RMOTC test site has been prepared for the installation of a second, water- cooled nominal 250 KW Pratt & Whitney unit that is scheduled for delivery in late January 2011. Under this program, the second, water cooled unit will be installed and tested for 3 years. This added capability will provide operational data and experience that can be transferred to potential users of air or water cooled systems in both oil/gas fields and low temperature geothermal settings. Looking to the future, RMOTC will continue geothermal testing, develop a test facility for smaller geothermal systems, develop plans for EGS applications and testing, and implement new initiatives. In parallel, GTP will provide funding for continued testing of program related geothermal activities at the site. The geothermal subprogram will also continue to provide guidance and oversight on all projects, as well as engage with National Labs, universities and industry to foster advances in technology by implementing innovative GHC BULLETIN, FEBRUARY 2010 concepts and ideas at the RMOTC test site. NREL’s future activities will be focused on addressing current challenges to the geothermal systems. NREL’s efforts will be focused on recording/analyzing data from Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and other geothermal power systems, and implementing improvements to the systems to improve their performance and promote the use of these renewable low temperature geothermal energy technologies. Ultimately, these plans are an attempt to provide the geothermal community with the means to achieve development and widespread deployment of economically viable, innovative, and scalable technologies that will capture a significant portion of the low temperature and coproduced geothermal resource base over the next two decades. BACKGROUND During the 1970’s, the publicly available information concerning geothermal power production and resources was limited. In response to this less than favorable environment for geothermal industry growth, the U.S. Government initiated the geothermal research and development (R&D) program. The intent of the geothermal program was to understand geothermal resources, improve geothermal science and engineering technology, and to ensure information was available to developers, utilities, financial institutions, regulators, and other stakeholders necessary to spur development of the industry. Today, the Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP), as that initial R&D program has come to be known, develops innovative geothermal energy technologies to find, access, and use the Nation’s geothermal resources. Through research, development, and demonstration efforts, the GTP is working to provide the United States with an abundant, clean, renewable energy source. The GTP works in partnership with industry, other government agencies, academia, and DOE’s national laboratories to establish geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to the U.S. energy supply. In pursuit of these goals, the program has partnered with RMOTC and NREL to demonstrate technically feasible and economically viable geothermal energy production from oil and gas wells at the RMOTC test site. NREL’s role in the GTP program is based on NREL’s overall mission to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices, advance related science and engineering, and transfer knowledge and innovations to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals. NREL seeks to accomplish this via its efforts to 9

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