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Energy 29 (2004) 12191223

Letter to the editor

Comments on Performance evaluation of single-ash geothermal power plant in Denizli, Turkey [Energy, 28 (2003) 27-35]5
U. Serpen
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Department, Istanbul Technical University, Maslak, 80626 Istanbul, Turkey

I have read the paper with interest, but I have found several erroneous statements and some erroneous information about the resource and the plant itself. Some erroneous assumptions in the paper have also led to the wrong conclusions. Most of the problems in the paper have arisen from the lack of knowledge about geothermal resources and evaluation of the plant separately from the resource. Geothermal power plants are very much dependent on geothermal resources as stated by James in [1]. Firstly, the Kizildere geothermal power plant does not have a rated capacity of 11.4 MWe. The rated capacity of the plant is 17.8 MWe, which is printed on the turbine. The power generation of Kizildere geothermal plant is another issue, and it is variable, ranging from 5 to 15 MWe, due to scaling problems throttling uid production from the wells in between mechanical cleaning operations of deposition carried out roughly every six months. The paper states that the eciency of the Kizildere geothermal plant is low in comparison to that of some geothermal plants around the world. The Kizildere and the indicated power plants have a common conventional design and similar elements, with the exception of CO2 extraction units in the Kizildere geothermal power plant. Thus, there seems to be no reason in the context of the paper in question why Kizildere has lower eciency. Obviously, there is one real reason, and it is the reservoir temperatures of other indicated geothermal resources (Ahuachapan, v v 240 C, and Kenya, 280 C). Those geothermal elds have higher resource temperatures with v respect to Kizildere elds temperatures (196242 C); as a result, their input exergies are higher, and that increases their eciency. It is obvious that the maximum availability of the geouid (DB) increases as the resource temperature (Tgf) increases. As quoted in the paper, two-thirds of

DOI of original article: 10.1016/S0360-5442(02)00093-2 Tel.: +90-212-285-6280; fax: +90-212-285-6263. E-mail address: (U. Serpen).

0360-5442/$ - see front matter # 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/


U. Serpen / Energy 29 (2004) 12191223

the geothermal uid feeding the power plant is produced from horizons with rather low temperv atures of 196205 C, which are low with respect to other resources. Therefore, the reason for the low eciency of Kizildere geothermal plant lies in its natural resource, and this problem cannot be resolved by an exergy analysis of the power plant. The references of the paper are largely unrelated (wind, direct heating, etc.). The papers claim to being the rst detailed analysis of Kizildere geothermal power plant is not true. A previous study on that subject is carried out in Ref. [2], and there are numerous very ne papers and articles available on geothermal power generation. Just a few of them are given in Refs. [38] as examples. The papers quoting that the 0.5 MWe power plant showed that power generation from the reservoir was feasible is also not true. That 0.5 MWe power plant was a primitive and atmospheric one, producing a dismal amount of power from a well (KD-13) with a power potential of 5 MWe at that time. Therefore, it had nothing to do with feasibility, which was based on long term production tests conducted in all available wells. On the other hand, the papers quoting that The other wells, after a certain period of operation, were closed down due to deposition of minerals in geouid is also not correct. Mineral scaling occurs in all wells and they are regularly cleaned by mechanical methods. Acidizing operations were also conducted in the early exploitation period. The plant started power generation with wells KD-6, KD-13, KD-14, KD15 and KD-16 in 1984. KD-20, KD-21 and KD-22 were connected to the plant in 1986, and nally, R-1 was added in 2001. The same wells have been utilized throughout the exploitation.

1. Performance of the plant The most serious error in the paper derives from the assumption of geothermal uid as liquid in the wellheads. The geothermal uids owing through the wellbores and the wellheads of the Kizildere wells are in two phases, namely hot water and steam, including some CO2 in vapor phase. The liquid temperatures and pressures indicated in Table 1 of the paper and the paper itself could not dene the thermodynamic state of two-phase geothermal uid. Another parameter (the enthalpy measured at the wellhead) is needed for this denition. Therefore, the initial exergy and related eciency values calculated are not correct. Another important issue aecting the performance of the plant is carbon dioxide, which is dissolved ca. 1.51.7% by weight in geothermal uid under the reservoir conditions [9]. The CO2 reduces the eciency of the turbine during the process of steam expansion in the turbine [2,9]. The paper did not take into account the eect of CO2 on the performance of the turbine. On the other hand, the non-condensable CO2 also aects the type and design of the condenser [1,7], and that, in turn, aects the turbines performance. That is why geothermal reservoirs (resource) should be considered in designing and evaluating a geothermal plant. In the alternative cycle designs section, the paper has considered the double-ash cycle and binary cycle options, and concluded that double-ash design would be more suitable because of possible scaling within the heat exchangers. In reality, severe deposition will occur in a doubleash cycle because of very low pressure in the second stage separator. Substantial amounts of CaCO3 have already been depositing in the relatively higher pressure separators of Kizildere. This process could clog the second ash separator very quickly. In the conclusion section, the

U. Serpen / Energy 29 (2004) 12191223


scaling problem of the double-ash cycle was suddenly introduced in a contradictory statement, which was omitted in the text and discussion. As to the scaling possibility in the heat exchangers of the binary cycle, especially where the CaCO3 concentration is high (Kizildere case), heat exchangers reduce the deposition potential due to the retrograde solubility of calcite [10]; and moreover, by preventing CO2 ash through maintenance of high pressure in the wellbore and uid transmission lines, deposition in heat exchangers could be easily avoided. On the other hand, to avoid scaling problems, inhibitors have been successfully utilized in the geothermal industry for the last 25 years. Regarding the papers quoting that there is no current use of combined single-ash and binary system, it is suggested to refer to the papers given in Refs. [8,11]. Binary cycle coupled with the existing single ash plant will be more suitable for the improvement of power plant v eciency using hot uid from the separator at 147 C. The papers quoting that the temperature of the brine leaving either of alternative designs v can be as high as 100 C which makes it very suitable for low temperature uses such as space heating and preheating of process water is misleading. The direct utilization of hot water after the plant has nothing to do with plant (indirect utilization) or cycle eciency; they can only increase the eciency of the resource utilization. Moreover, keeping the discharge temperature of the binary cycle relatively high will certainly result in lower eciencies of the binary plant. To increase the eciency of the binary plant, discharge temperatures of disposal water should v v be as low as 7580 C. Furthermore, temperatures in the range of 7580 C can be used for district heating without any problem. But in that integrative utilization case, outlet temperatures v would be much lower (~40 C), and as a result, reinjected disposal water would further cool the reservoir uid with severe consequences on power generation. The type of cycle selection is a rst step for geothermal plant performance. There are other parameters to be considered such as main steam inlet pressure, vacuum in condenser, wet bulb temperature and unit capacity selection [7]. These are important parameters that could help improve plant eciency. Another way of improving plant eciency is to utilize radial inow turbine instead of the present axial turbine in case of replacement after 20 years of service, which has already been completed. The eciency of the radial inow turbine is reportedly boosted by 20% over conventional ones [12]. The economics of Kizildere geothermal plant was thoroughly studied in [2,9,13,14]. Our studies indicated that a combined binary power plant would certainly improve existing plant economics. Double-ash cycle was not considered in those studies because it was technically not feasible due to scaling problems. If a low-pressure turbine were added to the existing single-ash cycle (assuming that scaling problems were solved), would it be an atmospheric one, or with a new condenser and CO2 extraction compressors? In the atmospheric turbine case, the available energy would be very small and it was not worth installing. In the other case, the costs would be very high to consider the alternative scheme feasible. Since exergy is exempt from the law of conservation, exergy balance in the paper considers only exergy destruction. But, if the resource is taken into account, conservation of energy is a real issue. The papers search for preventing exergy loss of the discharged water involves resource eciency and it could be handled by injecting the disposal uid into the geothermal reservoir. This way, heat rejection by discharging the disposal water can be prevented and the energy in question will be conserved within the resource. Reinjection is a necessary operation


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for feeding the resource both hydraulically and thermally [15]. Otherwise, the exploitation of the resource would not be sustainable. On the other hand, if a binary plant were added to the existing single-phase plant, the temperature of disposal water at the outlet of the plant would be v ca. 7580 C. And if this uid is reinjected, this operation might run the risk of cooling the geothermal reservoir, and, in turn, it might aect the performance of the power plant in the long run. In this case, the sustainability of the resource would become questionable. The decision on reinjecting at lower temperatures could only be taken after extensively studying the geothermal reservoir through simulation runs on reservoir models. Furthermore, there is a potential silica (SiO2) scaling problem in addition to calcite deposition in the process of uid ow. Investigations [16] indicate that silica scaling could be prevented if hot water from the separator at v 147 C were directly reinjected without contacting air. All these issues were extensively investigated in a recent study [15].

2. Conclusions As can be observed from the above-mentioned arguments, geothermal plants are connected to a geothermal resource supplying geothermal uid that can be in steam (one) phase or a hot water, steam and carbon dioxide mixture (two phases, liquid and gaseous). The chemistry of the reservoir will obviously aect the design and the performance of the geothermal power plant. The geothermal uid supply and quality will certainly change with time in the long run. Energy should certainly be conserved in the process. Those events should be accounted for in designing and assessing a geothermal power plant. Therefore, a geothermal power plant should not be evaluated separately from the resource; otherwise, wrong conclusions are reached. The sustainability of the resource should be taken into account in the evaluation of the power plant.

[1] James R. Power station strategy. Geothermics 1970;2:167687 [Special issue]. [2] Serpen U, Turkmen N. Technical and economical evaluation of Kizildere geothermal power plant. Proceedings of the Fourth International Energy Congress, ITEC 2001, Cesme, Izmir, Turkey. 2001, p. 3742. [3] Bodvardsson G, Eggers DET. The exergy of thermal water. Geothermics 1972;1(3):935. [4] Bodvarsson G. Geothermal resource energetics. Geothermics 1974;3(3). [5] Bombarda P, Duvia A, Macchi E. Combined, mixed, ash and binary cycles for electricity generation from geothermal resources, Part A: Selected congurations and calculation model. Proceedings of the 20th NZ Geothermal Workshop 1998, Auckland, New Zealand. 1998. [6] Bombarda P. Combined, mixed, ash and binary cycles for electricity generation from geothermal resources, Part B: Technical economic analysis. Proceedings of the 20th NZ Geothermal Workshop 1998, Auckland, NZ. 1998. [7] Yokota H, Saito S. Optimization of geothermal power plant. Proceedings of the 19th NZ Geothermal Workshop 1997. 1997, p. 1939. [8] Grassiani M, Krieger Z. Advanced power plants for use with hot dry rock and enhanced geothermal technology. Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2000, Kyushu-Tohuko, 28 May10 June. 2000. [9] Serpen U. Technical and economical evaluation of Kizildere geothermal eld. PhD dissertation thesis, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, April 2000.

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[10] James R. Personal communication, 2nd January 1999. [11] Forte N. The 125 MW upper Mahiao geothermal power plant, Largest geothermal steam/binary combined cycle starts-up. GRC Bulletin August/September 1996. [12] Serpen U. Latest technological developments in geothermal energy. Proceedings of the Ninth Turkish Energy Congress, 2427 September 2003, Istanbul. 2003. [13] Serpen U, Gulgor A. Economical analysis of geothermal investments of Turkey. Seventh Turkish Energy Congress, 1519 September 1997, Istanbul. 1997. [14] Serpen U, Satman A. Reassessment of the Kzldere geothermal reservoir. Proceedings of the WGC2000, Kyushu-Tohuku, Japan, 28 May10 June. 2000. [15] Serpen U. Reinjection strategies for Kizildere geothermal eld. Proceedings of the 27th Annual Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, 2830 January 2001, Stanford, CA, USA. 2001. [16] Lindal B, Kristmandotter H. The scaling properties of euent water from Kizildere power station, Turkey, and recommendation for a pilot plant in view of district heating. Geothermics 1989;18(1/2):21723.