Department of Energy and Ormat to validate electricity generation from oil field heat
Ormat Technologies, Inc. has signed a shared-cost Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to validate the feasibility of proven technology already used in geothermal and recovered energy generation for the production of commercial electricity using hot water produced during the process of oilfield production.
The project will be conducted at the DOE Rocky Mountain Oil Test Center (RMOTC), near Casper Wyoming, and will use an Ormat Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power generation system to produce commercial electricity.
The test will use a commercial air-cooled, skid mounted standard design Ormat Organic Rankine Cycle system. Ormat will supply the ORC power unit at its own expense while the DOE will install and operate the facility for a 12- month period. Ormat and the DOE will share the total cost of the test and the study, with Ormat bearing approximately two thirds of the less than $1M total investment.
Presently there are two large unutilized sources of hot water at the RMOTC Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3, which produces water in excess of 190 degrees Fahrenheit and at flow rates sufficient for generation of approximately 200 kW. The project will consist of the installation, testing and evaluation of a binary geothermal power unit in the field near these hot water sources. The ORC power unit will be interconnected into the field electrical system and the energy produced will be used by RMOTC and monitored for reliability quality.
The Ormat ORC unit that will be used in the study is similar to the 250 kW air-cooled unit that has been producing electricity from 210 degrees Fahrenheit geothermal water for more than six years at an Austrian resort. Additionally, there are similar units in Nevada and Thailand that have been in continuous commercial operation and without overhaul, since 1984 and 1989, respectively.
Some 8,000 similar wells were identified in Texas, by Prof Richard Erdlac of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, and the DOE Geothermal Research Project Office.