Gallery: New Geothermal Technology Could Tap 120,000MW of Energy

 

On August 22nd, Raser Technologies and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson broke ground on New Mexico’s first geothermal power plant. Situated at Lightning Dock near Animas, the new plant will incorporate an innovative binary liquid technology that allows it to make use of the site’s low levels of geothermal energy. If more of these modular plants are built then they could be mobilized to take advantage of over 120,000 MW of untapped low-temp geothermal energy across the US.

The project will be one of the first geothermal plants in the nation to incorporate the new breed of low-temperature technology featured in Raser’s proprietary modular power plants. Each individual generation unit is manufactured off-site, delivered to the location, and rapidly installed to create, in essence, a geothermal farm with multiple 450 kW units. Raser Technologies anticipates the first 10 MW of power generation will be online by early next year (2009). Phase II of the project will add another 15 MW of power, for a total of 25 MW, which is enough to power nearly fifteen thousand homes.

Typical geothermal power plants require high-temperature wells that are above 100 °C (212 °F). Dry Steam or Flash Steam power plants can easily take advantage of these high temperatures by using steam to drive a turbine.

Dubbed the Binary Cycle Power plant, Raser’s new technology is capable of generating power at temperatures below 100 °C (around 165 °F actually). To do this it uses water heated by the earth to vaporize a second “working fluid” via a heat exchanger. The vaporized working fluid is then used to drive a turbine.

This technology holds exciting prospects, as recently the US Geological Survey identified over 120,000 MW of untapped low temperature geothermal resources in the US. With the rapid deployment of these modular systems, we can now have new generators online very quickly compared to the construction of a new coal or nuclear plant. Oh, and did we mention it’s clean, renewable energy?

+ Raser Technologies

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15 Comments

  1. SannerProjects August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    We have ahigh efficiency multifuel (external working heating fluid from Geothermal, solar thermal,or fossil, or biofuel, or waste heat) that is significantly less expensive than all competition. It is scalable and can be manufacturedin the USA without outsourcing, and it is more efficient. How do I present its functional characteristics to the decision makers? I want to keep this technology as an American Technology. Sannerwind@gmail.com

  2. kjkillpack March 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    i worked on the utah plant and believe that this is the future of geothermal power. The plant went together quickly with a minimal crew. Lets build more !

  3. Just watching September 23, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    We frogs just set here as the water slowly comes to a boil. To stupid to do something to save ourselves!

  4. dreamvine September 1, 2008 at 2:23 am

    We have huge geothermal projects happening in Australia at the moment, and we’re going to be plugging them into mains power very soon – it’s exciting. Such a clean form of energy and it won’t run out any time soon.

    We’re also developing an enormous Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) capbility in Queensland (northern state of Australia) and predictions are that it will supply the world within 10 years.

    Come on USA!

    http://www.mindweed.org is my blog – it’s pretty controversial, so don’t read it if you aren’t ready.

  5. Gary Vesperman August 31, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    It would be helpful if the U.S. Government, etc would stop suppressing new energy inventions. See my compilation of 95 energy invention suppression cases in http://www.energysuppression.com or byronwine.com.

  6. devassocx@yahoo.com August 31, 2008 at 1:59 am

    I think this technology has been around for quite a while…but its nice to see it implemented.

    Geo of various types could well solve a lot of our energy problems.

    The poster here who laments removing heat from the earth’s core is way off base. Don’t you suppose all those
    folks at Vesuvius would have liked a little less heat in the ground at the time of the eruption that decimated them?

  7. going2green August 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    As the Democratic Convention wraps up and the hoopla of the Republican Convention heats up Americans are still left with a sense of a lot of hot air of any concrete plans to end the energy crisis in America. Northerners dread the upcoming onset of fall and colder weather wondering how they will be able to afford how to keep their homes and families warm. Southerners have been sweating the high cost of energy raising the thermostat to save on their electric bills. Families everywhere are wondering where else they can cut back to cover the cost of fueling up the family vehicle to get back and forth to work and take care of the necessities of life. There is no money left for relaxation and family fun. The stress level continues to rise. The average electric bill has risen 16% to cover the power companies additional production costs. A gallon of milk is almost as precious as a gallon of gas. The cost of every consumer product has risen sharply. American’s are stretched to the limit. Jobs are being lost, foreclosures are increasing at an alarming rate. Seems even the family pets are suffering the high cost of fuel as almost daily a new story is on TV about shelters being forced to euthanize record number of surrendered pets from those forced out of their homes or no longer able to care for them. The energy crisis in our country is far reaching and needs immediate attention. I am hoping whoever gets elected will get their act together and make this their #1 priority.

    An interesting site to share…

    http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

    http://www.howmuchenergydoesmycaruse.com

  8. froggy August 30, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Virtually all the heat being tapped by this technology comes from Radiation heat and/or gravity generated heat.

    And the heat released is even less than an insignificant amount that would eventually leave the earth anyhow.

    We should be tapping at will. And I also like the idea of the solar trough co-generation technology on the same spot for many of the reasons already suggested.

  9. juchestyle August 29, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I do like the idea of putting solar above this plant. Animals and other critters can’t use the land this plant is on now, so why not also make it into a solar generating plant? Listen, this would create more jobs in one location and not require people to waste more gas by driving to many other and different locations. You already will have a technical staff on site for one plant, it doesn’t cost much more in terms of marginal resources to add to it. It would be a win win, which is better than just a win.

  10. Happy Man August 28, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Tell this to Obama and he can use this in his speech. Reach his manager immediately.
    Thanks.

    Useful article.

    Happy man :) =

  11. msgustke August 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    The New Mexico Renewable Energy Alliance is very excited about this.

  12. clarke August 28, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    @Zach

    Somewhat correct, but the heat in the Earth is mostly caused by the effect of gravity on all of the mass of the Earth, creating extreme friction… Yes it will cool down eventually… but that is estimated to happen after the Sun has already become a Red Giant and engulfed the entire planet… So I don’t think we should be worried about making the Earth go cold by 100,000 years or so…

  13. Zach August 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I know that the Earth’s core may seem like an infinite source of power, but don’t you think in the long run that letting the heat out from the Earth is a remarkably bad idea? Unlike wind, solar, or even fossil sources of power, geothermal energy will never (I repeat, NEVER) be replenished. One of the reasons that Mars is the way it is now is because it’s core cooled down significantly.

    Then again that “long run” is probably quite a ways off, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to bring it about any sooner…

  14. WBrooke August 28, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    To DeadPan Dan,

    You make a good point about marrying renewable energy from different sources together. Solar and Wind power go nicely together since it is often overcast when the wind is blowing, and calm when the sun is shining. However, in this case I think adding concentrated solar would add un-neccessary variability into the heat supply. The reservoir of heat for geothermal systems is at a constant temperature, which allows you to tune your power plant to take advantage of that specific temperature difference.

    As for aesthetics, I think this modular geothermal plant looks pretty tidy and compact. Adding a farm of solar trough concentrators would radically increase the footprint of this plant.

  15. DeadPanDan August 28, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Cover the site with solar concentrating troughs to augment the power. The two sources could work well together. It would improve the aesthetics too.

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