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GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

ORIGIN
Geothermal energy is primarily energy from the earths own interior. The center of the earth is estimated at temperature up to 10,000 K due to decay process of radioactive isotopes. The total steady geothermal energy flow towards earths surface is 4.2 x 10 10 kW. But the average energy flow density is only 0.063 W/m2 and average temperature gradient is 30 K per kilometer of depth. Locations with very high temperature gradients are suitable for geothermal energy utilization. Geothermal energy can be used for heat and power generation.

TYPES OF GEOTHERMAL ENERGY


The molten mass of the earth is called magma. The thickness of crust above magma is about 32 km in average. At certain places due to earths tremors, magma came close to earths surface. The hot magma near the surface causes active volcanoes, hot springs and geysers where water exits. It also causes steam to vent through the fissures in the form of geothermal energy. Geothermal energy reservoirs are liquid-dominated and steam dominated. Some are only hot rocks where there is no ground water. Geothermal sources are : (1) Hydrothermal Systems (2) Geopressured Systems (3) Petrothermal systems
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HYDROTHERMAL SYSTEMS
Water is heated by the hot rocks. These can be vapour-dominated and Liquid dominated systems. (1) Vapour-dominated Systems: In these systems, water is vaporized into steam which reaches the earths surface at 8 bar and 2050C in dry condition. The steam can be used to produce power by Rankine Cycle with minimum costs. However, the steam is associated with corrosive and erosive materials. Such systems are very rare in the world. (2) Liquid-dominated Systems : Hot water is trapped underground at a temperature of 174 to 3150C. This water is brought up either by drilling wells or pumped up. Due to pressure drop, hot water flashes into two phase mixture of low quality. The water contains high concentration of dissolved solids and power generation becomes difficult due to scaling in
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GEOPRESSURED SYSTEMS
pipes and heat exchangers. The liquid-dominated systems are much more Plentiful GEOPRESSURED SYSTEMS: Geopressured system is hot water or brine at about 1600C trapped under ground at about 2400 to 9100m depth. The pressure is more than 1000 bar. Although it has great thermal and mechanical potential for power generation, but due to low temperature and great depth, it may not be economical to drill for this brine. But this brine has recoverable methane and there may be economic feasibility to generate electricity involving combustion of methane as well as heat from the thermal content of water.

PETROTHERMAL SYSTEMS

When there is no underground water, there are hot dry rocks (HDR) AT 150 to 298 0 C near the earths surface. This energy is called petro thermal energy and accounts for 85% of geothermal resources. Water will have to be pumped into and back out to the surface. Fracturing methods for drilling wells into the rocks can be by (i) high pressure water or (ii) nuclear explosions.

UTILISATION (VAPOUR-DOMINATED POWER PLANT)

T-S DIAGRAM

Contd.
These plants are the rarest form of geothermal systems. Examples are Geysers in USA, Larderello in Italy and Matsukawa in japan

LIQUID-DOMINATED SYSTEMS
Liquid-dominated systems are abundantly available and do not require development of special technologies. The following types of power systems are discussed. (1) The flashed-steam system (2) Binary Cycle (3) Total-flow system THE FLASHED-STEAM SYSTEM

SINGLE-FLASH STEAM POWER PLANT

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T-S DIAGRAM OF SINGLE-FLASH STEAM CYCLE

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EXPLANATION
Hot water from reservoir (1) reaches the well head (2). Pressure p2 is lower than p1 and process 1-2 is a constant enthalpy throttling process. The two phase mixture of low quality (2) is passed through a flash separator (3). The quality of steam is higher at point (3). The dry saturated steam (4) at pressure of about 8 bar is expanded in the steam turbine. The separated brine (5) is reinjected into the ground.

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IMPROVED FLASHED-STEAM SYSTEM DOUBLE-FLASH STEAM POWER PLANT


In order to recover large quantity of heat energy from brine at point (5), some improvements in the cycle are carried out. Ex. 50 MW Hatchobane plant, Kyushu in Japan.

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T-S DIAGRAM OF DOUBLE-FLASH STEAM CYCLE

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Contd.
(2) Water turbine (3) Rotary Separator Turbine (RST)

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BINARY CYCLE SYSTEM

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Contd.
The working fluids can be isobutane, Freon-12, ammonia or propane. Kamchatka binary cycle plant in Russia is 680 kW plant using hot water at 80 0 C. The working fluid is Freon-12.

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TOTAL-FLOW GEOTHERMAL POWER PLANT

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T-S DIAGRAM OF TOTAL -FLOW GEOTHERMAL POWER PLANT

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COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT SYSTEMS

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COMPARISON
The analytical comparison of various liquid-dominated geothermal system is given in the figure. The total-flow system produces the highest specific power per unit mass-flow rate at the well head. These calculations are based on the following assumptions: Condenser temperature = 45 0C Turbine efficiency = 85% In-plant power requirements = 30% of gross.

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HYBRID SYSTEMS
There are two possible arrangements for hybrid plants. (1) GEOTHERMAL PREHEAT HYBRID SYSTEM (2) FOSSIL-SUPERHEAT HYBRID SYSTEM

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FOSSIL-SUPERHIT HYBRID SYSTEM

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T-S DIAGRAM OF HYBRID SYSTEM

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END

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