16.0 Geothermal Energy
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16.0 Geothermal Energy. Frank R. Leslie, B. S. E. E., M. S. Space Technology, LS IEEE 3/18/2010, Rev. 2.0.2 fleslie @fit.edu; (321) 674-7377 www.fit.edu/~fleslie. Oil ~$80 on 3/18/2010. In Other News . . . .

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16.0 Geothermal Energy

Frank R. Leslie,

B. S. E. E., M. S. Space Technology, LS IEEE

3/18/2010, Rev. 2.0.2

fleslie @fit.edu; (321) 674-7377


Oil ~$80 on 3/18/2010

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In Other News . . .

  • Engineering firm Strategic Energy Solutions Inc. has moved into a new headquarters in Berkley MI that the owner hopes to use as a showcase for clients for state-of-the-art geothermal heating and cooling technology.

    • A 4,000 square-foot adjacent warehouse will house a new geothermal installation business unit.

    • Six geothermal pumps buried underneath a rear parking lot serve the two buildings with about 20 tons of heating and cooling capacity – the equivalent of eight to 10 homes.


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16 Overview: Geothermal

  • Geothermal energy is present within the land and the sea

    • Internal heat is from initial world accretion from gathering dust and compression of the earth and from radioactive decay

  • This energy can be useful in heating and cooling of air and water, but is somewhat costly to use

  • Active geyser areas are limited in area, but provide much hotter water or steam

  • The energy is inexhaustible in principle, yet local extraction will cool the immediate area in a few years

  • Extraction of energy from deep (~20,000 ft) hot rock is not economic yet


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16.0 Definitions: Geothermal Energy

  • HDR – Hot, dry rock: has no natural steam but may receive injected water to emit steam

  • Head – the height of water – the hydraulic height of the water (1 psi = 2.31 ft H2O)

    • For artesian wells, the height that the water will stand above ground level in a pipe

  • Heat Quality – the temperature of the heat

  • Ground Source Heat Pump – extracts from ground or rejects heat to ground to/from and air conditioning heat pump


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16.0 Geothermal Energy

  • Active geysers supply steam or hot water for heating in The Geysers, California (824 MWe)

  • “Hot, dry rock” (HDR) offers potential for injecting water and using the resultant steam to spin a turbine

  • At a lower thermal level, an air conditioner can extract heat from the ground for winter heating or insert energy into the ground to gain a more efficient cooling sink

www.eren.doe.gov/geothermal/ geysers20.html

Nearby Calistoga (started 1862) has tourist spas with hot water from springs;also palm reading, water treatments, psychics, mud baths, etc.


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16.0 About This Presentation

  • 16.1 History

  • 16.2 Sources

  • 16.3 High Temperature Systems (Steam)

  • 16.4 Low Temperature Systems (Heat Pumps)

  • 16.5 Issues and Trends

  • 16.0 Conclusion


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16.1 History

  • Paleo-American Indians used hot springs in this area

  • Hot Springs, Arkansas had $1 hot baths in 1830

  • First electricity (20kW) from geothermal produced from natural steam in Larderello, Italy in 1904 [Kruger, 1973]

  • New Zealand’s north island gets 6% of its electricity from geothermal energy

  • 1920: test boring in Niland CA

  • 1922: electricity generation in The Geysers

  • 1950: 95°F, 220kW generating plant in Katanga

  • The Geysers CA expanded to 600MW in 1975



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16.2 Source of Geothermal Energy

  • Heat stems from radioactive disintegrations of atomic nuclei [Sorensen, 2000], initial cooling from agglomeration in planet formation, and other various processes

  • Hot spots occur where strong convective magma circulation is occurring, usually near continental plate boundaries and mountainous regions

  • Hot dry rock, the most common type, retains convective heat

  • Storage in a developed area may be depleted in 50 years


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16.2.1 Sources of Geothermal Energy

The western states have most of the higher temperature energy



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16.2.1 Sources of Geothermal Energy



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16.2.1 Sources of Geothermal Energy

  • U.S. Geothermal power plant locations: 1. The Geysers; 2, Salton Sea; 3. Heber; 4, East Mesa; 5. Coso; 6. Casa Diablo; 7, Amedee; 8, Wendel; 9. Dixie Valley; 10. Steamboat Hot Springs; 11. Beowawe Hot Springs; 12. Desert Peak; 13, Wabuska Hot Springs; 14. Soda Lake; 15, Stillwater; 16. Empire and San Emidio; 17, Roosevelt Hot Springs; 18, Cove Fort.


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16.2.2 Mammoth Pacific Power Plant, CA

“Located in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, showcases the environmentally friendly nature of geothermal power.” ---- ASES policy, 2005

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16.3 High Temperature Systems

  • These areas are associated with the “Ring of Fire” volcanic activities around the Pacific Rim Basin

  • Geyser-temperature steam is contaminated with salts that cause corrosion of turbines or engines

  • Removing these salts to protect the machinery is costly

  • Types of geothermal systems

    • Direct from steam underground

    • Flash-steam systems take in deep-well hot water (high enthalpy) that is above the boiling point to heat clean water into steam in a heat exchanger

    • Binary systems that heat a low-boiling-point fluid like butane or propane to drive a closed-loop turbine


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16.4 Low Temperature Heat Extraction/Rejection

  • The classic use of earth/water is as a heat sink or source for air conditioning or heating

  • Pipes embedded in the earth carry refrigerant or water and conduct heat from the hotter to cooler substance

  • Since the earth (or water) has a high specific heat in comparison with air, there is good thermal transfer

  • In winter, heat is extracted from the earth by the chilled refrigerant, while in the summer, the hot refrigerant conducts heat to the earth

  • Houses have been built partially underground to moderate the winter and summer temperatures

    • Dennis Weaver built an “Earthship” house with used tires, aluminum cans, and stucco


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16.4.1 Basic Refrigeration Concept

  • Specific heats determine the storage of thermal energy

    • Air – 0.018 Btu per cubic foot

    • Water – 62.42 Btu per cubic foot, or 3472 times higher

  • Heat pumping works through phase change of the refrigerant; boiling to gas or condensing to liquid

  • Typical refrigerants have boiling points of -40 degrees F

  • When the refrigerant is compressed, heat is released and it liquefies; when decompressed through an expansion valve, it cools as it changes to a gas

  • Reversing the direction of refrigerant travel through the system changes operation from an air conditioner to a heat pump


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16.4.2 Basic Refrigeration Diagram


  • Long pipes buried in the ground carry water to and from a heat exchanger

  • The refrigerant absorbs heat from or rejects heat to the water



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16.5 Issues and Trends

  • HDR (hot, dry rock) cools locally as the temperature falls with energy extraction

    • Wells may require redrilling to find new hot regions and to let more heat enter the depleted region

    • Since the locations are limited, this source of energy may not be economically available

    • Extraction often requires fracturing of deep rock layers to allow water in and steam out

  • Since sources are geographically limited, the energy is best used locally; too difficult to pipeline elsewhere


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16.C Conclusion: Geothermal

  • Geothermal energy is limited in extent as extracting the heat usually exceeds the replenishment rate

  • Hot, dry rock (HDR) is widespread and offers new resources in areas where geyser activity is unknown

  • Direct low-temperature heat transfer for home systems is practical as long as low maintenance is designed into the system

  • Sources of high temperature water or steam are limited and the cost of extraction, maintenance, and operation will remain high in comparison with other sources of energy

  • Geothermal energy likely to remain at 1% of world energy [Kruger, 1973]


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Olin Engineering Complex 4.7 kW Solar PV Roof Array


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References: Books

  • Boyle, Godfrey. Renewable Energy, Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-19-26178-4. (my preferred text)

  • Brower, Michael. Cool Energy. Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 1992. 0-262-02349-0, TJ807.9.U6B76, 333.79’4’0973.

  • Duffie, John and William A. Beckman. Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 920 pp., 1991

  • Gipe, Paul. Wind Energy for Home & Business. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Pub. Co., 1993. 0-930031-64-4, TJ820.G57, 621.4’5

  • Patel, Mukund R. Wind and Solar Power Systems. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1999, 351 pp. ISBN 0-8493-1605-7, TK1541.P38 1999, 621.31’2136

  • Sørensen, Bent. Renewable Energy, Second Edition. San Diego: Academic Press, 2000, 911 pp. ISBN 0-12-656152-4.

  • Texter, [MIT]

  • Kruger, Paul and Carel Otto, eds. Geothermal Energy. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 1973, 333.7 0-8047-0822-3.

  • Bockris, J. O’M. Energy – The Solar-Hydrogen Alternative. NY: John Wiley & Sons1975. ISBN 0-4700-08429-4. 333.7. TJ810.B58


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References: Websites, etc.

http://www.eere.energy.gov/geothermal/ Government Lab

http://www.geothermalheatpump.com/how.htm Good explanation of practical use


University of Nevada at Reno Desert Research Institute

http://www.bnl.gov/est/MEA.htm Brookhaven Laboratories

http://geothermal.inel.gov/ INEEL

http://www-esd.lbl.gov/ER/geothermal.html Lawrence Livermore Labs

http://www.sandia.gov/geothermal/ Sandia National Labs

http://www.nrel.gov/geothermal/ National Renewable Energy Labs

http://www.eere.energy.gov/geothermal/webresources.html More Resources


geothermal.marin.org/ on geothermal energy

mailto:[email protected]

rredc.nrel.gov/www.dieoff.org. Site devoted to the decline of energy and effects upon population

www.ferc.gov/ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission