Power Production from a Moderate Temp Geothermal Resource

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GRC Annual Meeting September 25-28th, 2005; Reno, NV, USA Power Production from a Moderate -Temperature Geothermal Resource Joost J. Brasz Carrier Corporation Syracuse, NY 13221 Bruce P. Biederman United Technologies Research Center East Hartford, CT 06108 Gwen Holdmann Chena Hot Springs Resort Fairbanks, AK 99711 gwen@yourownpower.com joost.j.brasz@carrier.utc.com biederbp@utrc.utc.com ABSTRACT Organic Rankine Cycle power production from low temperature resources has inherently a low thermal efficiency. Low efficiency requires increased power plant equipment size (turbine, condenser, pump and boiler) that can become cost prohibitive. The use of ORC power plant hardware derived from air-conditioning equipment overcomes this cost problem since air- conditioning hardware has a cost structure almost an order of magnitude smaller than that of traditional power generating equipment. Using the HVAC derivative concept a low-cost 200 kW ORC power plant has been developed as a derivative of a standard 350 ton air-conditioning equipment. The corresponding PureCycleTM200 product was introduced in 2004. It uses waste heat exhaust gases and air-cooled condenser equipment. This paper describes the extension of this ORC development work towards power production from moderate-temperature geothermal resources. 1. BACKGROUND (ORIGIN OF THE IDEA) Compressors in HVAC and refrigeration installations are known to start running in reverse after system shut-down unless special provisions are in place to prevent that. Reverse operation can be detrimental for certain type of positive displacement compressors, e.g. scroll and screw compressors, requiring a check valve in the compressor discharge line to prevent reverse rotation. Turbo-compressors, such as the centrifugal compressors used on water-cooled chillers, can easily be designed to handle temporary reverse rotation following system shut-down. After system shutdown pressure equalization takes place between the condenser and the evaporator. During that process refrigerant flashes/boils in the condenser and condenses in the evaporator, temporarily reversing the original design roles of these heat exchangers with heat now being rejected to the chilled water loop and extracted from the cooling tower water loop. Figure 1 ion or vapor compression cycle with its operation compares the normal operation of the refrigerat during pressure equalization. Heat Out Throttle Valve Heat In Compressor Power In Condenser Motor Motor Evaporator/Cooler Heat In Throttle Valve Heat Out Compressor No Power to Motor Condenser Figure 1. Comparison of a vapor compression system before and after shut down Evaporator/Cooler

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