Operation and Performance of a Biphase Turbine Power Plant at the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field (Final Report)

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A full scale, wellhead Biphase turbine was manufactured and installed with the balance of plant at Well 103 of the Cerro Prieto geothermal resource in Baja, California. The Biphase turbine was first synchronized with the electrical grid of Comision Federal de Electricidad on August 20, 1997. The Biphase power plant was operated from that time until May 23, 2000, a period of 2 years and 9 months. A total of 77,549 kWh were delivered to the grid. The power plant was subsequently placed in a standby condition pending replacement of the rotor with a newly designed, higher power rotor and ... continued below

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Hays, Lance G. September 1, 2000.

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  • Hays, Lance G. Douglas Energy Company, Placentia, CA (United States)

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A full scale, wellhead Biphase turbine was manufactured and installed with the balance of plant at Well 103 of the Cerro Prieto geothermal resource in Baja, California. The Biphase turbine was first synchronized with the electrical grid of Comision Federal de Electricidad on August 20, 1997. The Biphase power plant was operated from that time until May 23, 2000, a period of 2 years and 9 months. A total of 77,549 kWh were delivered to the grid. The power plant was subsequently placed in a standby condition pending replacement of the rotor with a newly designed, higher power rotor and replacement of the bearings and seals. The maximum measured power output of the Biphase turbine, 808 kWe at 640 psig wellhead pressure, agreed closely with the predicted output, 840 kWe. When combined with the backpressure steam turbine the total output power from that flow would be increased by 40% above the power derived only from the flow by the present flash steam plant. The design relations used to predict performance and design the turbine were verified by these tests. The performance and durability of the Biphase turbine support the conclusion of the Economics and Application Report previously published, (Appendix A). The newly designed rotor (the Dual Pressure Rotor) was analyzed for the above power condition. The Dual Pressure Rotor would increase the power output to 2064 kWe by incorporating two pressure letdown stages in the Biphase rotor, eliminating the requirement for a backpressure steam turbine. The power plant availability was low due to deposition of solids from the well on the Biphase rotor and balance of plant problems. A great deal of plant down time resulted from the requirement to develop methods to handle the solids and from testing the apparatus in the Biphase turbine. Finally an online, washing method using the high pressure two-phase flow was developed which completely eliminated the solids problem. The availability of the Biphase turbine itself was 100% after implementations of this method in March 2000. However, failures of instrumentation and control system components led to additional plant down time and damage to the bearings and seals. The enthalpy and pressure of well 103 declined substantially from the inception of the project. When the project was started the wellhead pressure and enthalpy were 760 psig and 882 Btu/lb respectively. At the time the plant was placed in standby the corresponding values were only 525 psig and 658 Btu/lb. This reduced the available plant power to only 400 kWe making the project economically unfeasible. However, replacement of the existing rotor with the Dual Pressure Rotor and replacement of the bearings and seals will enable the existing Biphase turbine to produce 1190 kWe at the present well conditions without the backpressure steam turbine. Operation with the present staff can then be sustained by selling power under the existing Agreement with CFE. Implementation of this option is recommended with operation of the facility to continue as a demonstration plant. Biphase turbine theory, design and performance are reported herein. The construction of the Biphase turbine and power plant and operational experience are detailed. Improvements in the Biphase turbine are indicated and analyzed. The impact of Biphase techonology on geothermal power production is discussed and recommendations made.

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  • Related Information: NOTE: Appendices A - Y, deemed not crucial to the content of the report, are not included.

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  • Report No.: DOE/CH10516-63
  • Grant Number: DE-PSO2-92-CH10516
  • DOI: 10.2172/964418 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 964418
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc928648

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  • September 1, 2000

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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Hays, Lance G. Operation and Performance of a Biphase Turbine Power Plant at the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field (Final Report), report, September 1, 2000; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc928648/: accessed June 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.