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Geothermal Progress Monitor. Report No. 18

Description: The near-term challenges of the US geothermal industry and its long-range potential are dominant themes in this issue of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Progress Monitor which summarizes calendar-year 1996 events in geothermal development. Competition is seen as an antidote to current problems and a cornerstone of the future. Thus, industry's cost-cutting strategies needed to increase the competitiveness of geothermal energy in world markets are examined. For example, a major challenge facing the US industry today is that the sales contracts of independent producers have reached, or soon will, the critical stage when the prices utilities must pay them drop precipitously, aptly called the cliff. However, Thomas R. Mason, President and CEO of CalEnergy told the DOE 1996 Geothermal Program Review XIV audience that while some of his company's plants have ''gone over the cliff, the world is not coming to an end.'' With the imposition of severe cost-cutting strategies, he said, ''these plants remain profitable... although they have to be run with fewer people and less availability.'' The Technology Development section of the newsletter discusses enhancements to TOUGH2, the general purpose fluid and heat flow simulator and the analysis of drill cores from The Geysers, but the emphasis is on advanced drilling technologies.
Date: December 31, 1996
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Geothermal Program Review XVII: proceedings. Building on 25 years of Geothermal Partnership with Industry

Description: The US Department of Energy's Office (DOE) of Geothermal Technologies conducted its annual Program Review XVII in Berkeley, California, on May 18--20, 1999. The theme this year was "Building on 25 Years of Geothermal Partnership with Industry". In 1974, Congress enacted Public Law 93-410 which sanctioned the Geothermal Energy Coordination and Management Project, the Federal Government's initial partnering with the US geothermal industry. The annual program review provides a forum to foster this federal partnership with the US geothermal industry through the presentation of DOE-funded research papers from leaders in the field, speakers who are prominent in the industry, topical panel discussions and workshops, planning sessions, and the opportunity to exchange ideas. Speakers and researchers from both industry and DOE presented an annual update on research in progress, discussed changes in the environment and deregulated energy market, and exchanged ideas to refine the DOE Strategic Plan for research and development of geothermal resources in the new century. A panel discussion on Climate Change and environmental issues and regulations provided insight into the opportunities and challenges that geothermal project developers encounter. This year, a pilot peer review process was integrated with the program review. A team of geothermal industry experts were asked to evaluate the research in progress that was presented. The evaluation was based on the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) criteria and the goals and objectives of the Geothermal Program as set forth in the Strategic Plan. Despite the short timeframe and cursory guidance provided to both the principle investigators and the peer reviewers, the pilot process was successful. Based on post review comments by both presenters and reviewers, the process will be refined for next year's program review.
Date: October 1, 1999
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Geothermal Technologies Program Geoscience and Supporting Technologies 2001 University Research Summaries

Description: The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Wind and Geothermal Technologies (DOE) is funding advanced geothermal research through University Geothermal Research solicitations. These solicitations are intended to generate research proposals in the areas of fracture permeability location and characterization, reservoir management and geochemistry. The work funded through these solicitations should stimulate the development of new geothermal electrical generating capacity through increasing scientific knowledge of high-temperature geothermal systems. In order to meet this objective researchers are encouraged to collaborate with the geothermal industry. These objectives and strategies are consistent with DOE Geothermal Energy Program strategic objectives.
Date: May 14, 2002
Creator: Creed, R.J. & Laney, P.T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Project Development Solicitation - Final Report - 09/30/2000 - 02/01/2001

Description: The Enhanced Geothermal System concept is to develop the technology required to extract energy from the reduced permeability zones that underlie all high-temperature geothermal systems. Our concept is that injection wells will be drilled into the high temperature zone. The wells will identify fractures that are only poorly connected to the overlying reservoir. Water injected into these fractures will cause them to propagate through thermal contraction, increase in hydrostatic pressure, and reduction of effective stress. The fractures will connect with the overlying normal temperature reservoir, and steam will be produced from existing production wells. The injection water will generate high thermal quality steam while mitigating problems relating to high gas and chloride.
Date: May 7, 2001
Creator: Nielson, Dennis L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small-Scale Geothermal Power Plant Field Verification Projects: Preprint

Description: In the spring of 2000, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory issued a Request for Proposal for the construction of small-scale (300 kilowatt [kW] to 1 megawatt [MW]) geothermal power plants in the western United States. Five projects were selected for funding. Of these five, subcontracts have been completed for three, and preliminary design work is being conducted. The three projects currently under contract represent a variety of concepts and locations: a 1-MW evaporatively enhanced, air-cooled binary-cycle plant in Nevada; a 1-MW water-cooled Kalina-cycle plant in New Mexico; and a 750-kW low-temperature flash plant in Utah. All three also incorporate direct heating: onion dehydration, heating for a fish hatchery, and greenhouse heating, respectively. These projects are expected to begin operation between April 2002 and September 2003. In each case, detailed data on performance and costs will be taken over a 3-year period.
Date: July 3, 2001
Creator: Kutscher, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Advanced Geothermal Turbodrill

Description: Approximately 50% of the cost of a new geothermal power plant is in the wells that must be drilled. Compared to the majority of oil and gas wells, geothermal wells are more difficult and costly to drill for several reasons. First, most U.S. geothermal resources consist of hot, hard crystalline rock formations which drill much slower than the relatively soft sedimentary formations associated with most oil and gas production. Second, high downhole temperatures can greatly shorten equipment life or preclude the use of some technologies altogether. Third, producing viable levels of electricity from geothermal fields requires the use of large diameter bores and a high degree of fluid communication, both of which increase drilling and completion costs. Optimizing fluid communication often requires creation of a directional well to intersect the best and largest number of fracture capable of producing hot geothermal fluids. Moineau motor stators made with elastomers cannot operate at geothermal temperatures, so they are limited to the upper portion of the hole. To overcome these limitations, Maurer Engineering Inc. (MEI) has developed a turbodrill that does not use elastomers and therefore can operate at geothermal temperatures. This new turbodrill uses a special gear assembly to reduce the output speed, thus allowing a larger range of bit types, especially tri-cone roller bits, which are the bits of choice for drilling hard crystalline formations. The Advanced Geothermal Turbodrill (AGT) represents a significant improvement for drilling geothermal wells and has the potential to significantly reduce drilling costs while increasing production, thereby making geothermal energy less expensive and better able to compete with fossil fuels. The final field test of the AGT will prepare the tool for successful commercialization.
Date: May 1, 2000
Creator: Maurer, W. C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of a Plan to Implement Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) in the Animas Valley, New Mexico - Final Report - 07/26/2000 - 02/01/2001

Description: The concept of producing energy from hot dry rock (HDR), originally proposed in 1971 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, contemplated the generation of electric power by injecting water into artificially created fractures in subsurface rock formations with high heat flow. Recognizing the inherent difficulties associated with HDR, the concept of Enhanced Geothermal Systems was proposed. This embraces the idea that the amount of permeability and fluid in geothermal resources varies across a spectrum, with HDR at one end, and conventional hydrothermal systems at the other. This report provides a concept for development of a ''Combined Technologies Project'' with construction and operation of a 6 MW (net) binary-cycle geothermal power plant that uses both the intermediate-depth hydrothermal system at 1,200 to 3,300 feet and a deeper EGS capable system at 3,000 to 4,000 feet. Two production/injection well pairs will be drilled, one couplet for the hydrothermal system, and one for the E GS system. High-pressure injection may be required to drive fluid through the EGS reservoir from the injection to the production well.
Date: February 1, 2001
Creator: Schochet, Daniel N. & Cunniff, Roy A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Determination of silica deposition rates and thresholds applied towards protection of injection reservoirs

Description: This program was instituted to quantify certain aspects of silica scaling deposition processes at the Miravalles Geothermal Field, Costa Rica. The program objective was to identify the highest temperature at which silica scale will develop from partially evaporated and significantly cooled geothermal liquid under operating conditions. Integral to the study objective was the quantification of certain aspects of silica deposition processes at the Miravalles Geothermal Field, Costa Rica. There, the objective was to reduce the scaling risk associated with adding a bottoming-cycle to generate more electricity from the liquids already being produced.
Date: July 1, 1999
Creator: Associates, Geothermal Development & Associates, Don Michels
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Low Cost Geothermal Separators BLISS Boundary Layer Inline Separator Scrubber

Description: A new compact, low cost, and high performance separator is being developed to help reduce the installed and O and M cost of geothermal power generation. This device has been given the acronym ''BLISS'' that stands for ''Boundary Layer Inline Separator Scrubber''. The device is the first of a series of separators, and in the case of injectates, scrubbers to address the cost-reduction needs of the industry. The BLISS is a multi-positional centrifugal separator primarily designed to be simply installed between pipe supports, in a horizontal position. This lower profile reduces the height safety concern for workers, and significantly reduces the total installation cost. The vessel can demand as little as one-quarter (25%) the amount of steel traditionally required to fabricate many large vertical separators. The compact nature and high separating efficiency of this device are directly attributable to a high centrifugal force coupled with boundary layer control. The pseudo isokinetic flow design imparts a self-cleaning and scale resistant feature. This polishing separator is designed to remove moderate amounts of liquid and entrained solids.
Date: May 26, 2000
Creator: Jung, Douglas & Wai, King
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Geothermal Direct-Heat Utilization Assistance - Final Report

Description: The Geo-Heat Center provided (1) direct-use technical assistance, (2) research, and (3) information dissemination on geothermal energy over an 8 1/2 year period. The center published a quarterly bulletin, developed a web site and maintained a technical library. Staff members made 145 oral presentations, published 170 technical papers, completed 28 applied research projects, and gave 108 tours of local geothermal installations to 500 persons.
Date: July 14, 1999
Creator: Lund, J. W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tracing Geothermal Fluids

Description: Chemical compounds have been designed under this contract that can be used to trace water that has been injected into vapor-dominated and two-phase geothermal fields. Increased knowledge of the injection flow is provided by the tracers, and this augments the power that can be produced. Details on the stability and use of these tracers are included in this report.
Date: March 31, 2004
Creator: Nash, Michael C. Adams Greg
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: Final Technical Report covering siting, permitting, and drilling two geothermal temperature gradient holes. This report provides a summary of geotechnical and geophysical data that led to the siting, drilling, and completion of 2 temperature gradient holes in the geothermal anomaly at Lightning Dock Known Geothermal Resource Area in the Animas Valley of New Mexico. Included in this report is a summary of institutional factors and data defining the well drilling process and acquiring drilling permits. Data covering the results of the drilling and temperature logging of these two holes are provided. The two gradient holes were sited on federal geothermal leases owned by Lightning Dock Geothermal, Inc. and both holes were drilled into lakebed sediments some distance from the intense shallow geothermal anomaly located in the eastern half of Section 7, Township 25 South, Range 19 West.
Date: December 29, 2003
Creator: A.Cunniff, Roy & Bowers, Roger L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Evaluation of the Impact of Off-Design Operation on an Air-Cooled Binary Power Plant

Description: Geothermal power plants are designed and constructed to provide a rated power output at specific resource and ambient conditions. Due to both diurnal and seasonal changes in the ambient air temperature, as well as a decline in resource productivity over time, plants seldom operate at these ''design'' conditions. This paper examines the impact of ''off- design'' operation of an air-cooled binary geothermal power plant. An available energy analysis is used to evaluate operation at these conditions. This evaluation identifies those portions of the power cycle that are most sensitive to changing resource and ambient conditions, as well as where improvements in cycle component or system performance would have the largest impact in increasing power output.
Date: June 17, 2002
Creator: Mines, G.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Geothermal Research Program Update Fiscal Year 2000

Description: The Department of Energy's Geothermal Program serves two broad purposes: (1) to assist industry in overcoming near-term barriers by conducting cost-shared research and field verification that allows geothermal energy to compete in today's aggressive energy markets; and (2) to undertake fundamental research with potentially large economic payoffs. The four categories of work used to distinguish the research activities of the Geothermal Program during FY 2000 reflect the main components of real-world geothermal projects. These categories form the main sections of the project descriptions in this Research Update. Exploration Technology research focuses on developing instruments and techniques to discover hidden hydrothermal systems and to explore the deep portions of known systems. Research in geophysical and geochemical methods is expected to yield increased knowledge of hidden geothermal systems. Reservoir Technology research combines laboratory and analytical investigations with equipment development and field testing to establish practical tools for resource development and management for both hydrothermal reservoirs and enhanced geothermal systems. Research in various reservoir analysis techniques is generating a wide range of information that facilitates development of improved reservoir management tools. Drilling Technology focuses on developing improved, economic drilling and completion technology for geothermal wells. Ongoing research to avert lost circulation episodes in geothermal drilling is yielding positive results. Conversion Technology research focuses on reducing costs and improving binary conversion cycle efficiency, to permit greater use of the more abundant moderate-temperature geothermal resource, and on the development of materials that will improve the operating characteristics of many types of geothermal energy equipment. Increased output and improved performance of binary cycles will result from investigations in heat cycle research.
Date: August 15, 2001
Creator: Renner, J.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Exploring the Role of Shear Stress and Severe Turbulence in Downstream Fish Passage

Description: Fish may be exposed to damaging levels of fluid shear stress and turbulence while passing through hydroelectric power plants. The generally assumed locations for such potential damage are the turbine and draft tube passages, although it is possible that fish are also injured during passage over the spillway or through sluiceways and fish bypass outfalls. Unless mitigated, fluid-induced injuries and mortality could frustrate efforts to develop advanced, fish-friendly turbines or to provide safe alternate downstream passages. The effects of shear stress and turbulence on fish are poorly understood, in part because of the difficulties in conceptualizing these phenomena, determining their magnitudes and distribution within hydroelectric systems, and then recreating them in a controlled laboratory environment. We define the fluid phenomena that are relevant to the assessment of effects on fish. The magnitudes of fluid stresses associated with man-altered aquatic environments are often considerably higher than those found in natural environments (e.g., normal river flows). However, levels of shear stresses that occur during flash floods appear to be comparable to those expected within a turbine. Past studies of the effects of shear stress on fish are of limited value, mainly because of their narrow scope and lack of instrumentation to measure velocities on appropriately small scales. A laboratory experiment to study the effects of shear stress and turbulence on fish is described.
Date: July 6, 1999
Creator: Cada, G.; Carlson, T.; Ferguson, J.; Richmond, M. & Sale, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Geothermal Research Program Update Fiscal Year 1998

Description: This report reviews the specific objectives, status, and accomplishments of DOE's Geothermal Research Program for Fiscal Year 1998. The Exploration Technology research area focuses on developing instruments and techniques to discover hidden hydrothermal systems and to expose the deep portions of known systems. The Reservoir Technology research combines laboratory and analytical investigations with equipment development and field testing to establish practical tools for resource development and management for both hydrothermal and hot dry rock reservoirs. The Drilling Technology projects focus on developing improved, economic drilling and completion technology for geothermal wells. The Conversion Technology research focuses on reducing costs and improving binary conversion cycle efficiency, to permit greater use of the more abundant moderate-temperature geothermal resource, and on the development of materials that will improve the operating characteristics of many types of geothermal energy equipment. Direct use research covers the direct use of geothermal energy sources for applications in other than electrical production.
Date: May 1, 1999
Creator: Keller, J.G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of Active Seismic Vector-Wavefield Imaging Technology for Geothermal Applications

Description: This report describes the development and testing of vector-wavefield seismic sources that can generate shear (S) waves that may be valuable in geothermal exploration and reservoir characterization. Also described is a 3-D seismic data-processing effort to create images of Rye Patch geothermal reservoir from 3-D sign-bit data recorded over the geothermal prospect. Two seismic sources were developed and tested in this study that can be used to illuminate geothermal reservoirs with S-waves. The first was an explosive package that generates a strong, azimuth-oriented, horizontal force vector when deployed in a conventional shot hole. This vector-explosive source has never been available to industry before. The second source was a dipole formed by operating two vertical vibrators in either a force or phase imbalance. Field data are shown that document the strong S-wave modes generated by these sources.
Date: October 1, 1999
Creator: Hardage, B. A.; J. L. Simmons, Jr. & DeAngelo, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Final Report: Natural State Models of The Geysers Geothermal System, Sonoma County, California

Description: Final project report of natural state modeling effort for The Geysers geothermal field, California. Initial models examined the liquid-dominated state of the system, based on geologic constraints and calibrated to match observed whole rock delta-O18 isotope alteration. These models demonstrated that the early system was of generally low permeability (around 10{sup -12} m{sup 2}), with good hydraulic connectivity at depth (along the intrusive contact) and an intact caprock. Later effort in the project was directed at development of a two-phase, supercritical flow simulation package (EOS1sc) to accompany the Tough2 flow simulator. Geysers models made using this package show that ''simmering'', or the transient migration of vapor bubbles through the hydrothermal system, is the dominant transition state as the system progresses to vapor-dominated. Such a system is highly variable in space and time, making the rock record more difficult to interpret, since pressure-temperature indicators likely reflect only local, short duration conditions.
Date: December 31, 2001
Creator: Brikowski, T. H.; Norton, D. L. & Blackwell, D. D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Data Review of the Hot Dry Rock Project at Fenton Hill, New Mexico

Description: This report reviews the data collected during the hot dry rock experimental project conducted by the US Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Laboratory at Fenton Hill, New Mexico from about 1971 through 1995. Five main categories of data were reviewed: (1) geologic data; (2) flow test data; (3) reservoir modeling data; (4) chemical tracer data; and (5) seismic data. The review determines the important data sets from the project, determines where and how these data are stored, and evaluates whether further analyses of the data might be likely to yield additional information valuable to the geothermal industry or to the further development of enhanced geothermal systems.
Date: December 1, 1998
Creator: GeothermEx, Inc.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of High Erosivity Well Scale Cleaning Tools

Description: Build up of scale deposits on the walls of geothermal wells can occur rapidly due to the high dissolved solids content of geothermal fluids. Scale formation is a significant problem for both the well and for surface heat transfer equipment. Geothermal brines contain a wide variety if dissolved salts including carbonates, silicates, sulfates, and metal sulfides. One technology recently proposed for scale removal is the use of an ultrasonic device. In the present effort we apply cavitation in a more direct manner by the use of acoustically enhanced cavitating water jets which can be made to be much more efficient and aggressive than ultrasonic devices. Cavitating and self-resonating jet technologies have been proven to enhance the erosive power of liquid jets in a number of cutting, cleaning, and drilling applications. In this study we investigated two related technologies - one that employs cavitation and one that breaks the jet up into a series of slugs that produce water hammer type pressures upon impact. These technologies enable operation in both submerged and nonsubmerged conditions.
Date: July 1, 1999
Creator: Kalumuck, K. M.; Chahine, G. L.; Frederick, G. S. & Aley, P. D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Thermal History of the Felsite Unit, Geysers Geothermal Field, From Thermal Modeling of 40Ar/39Ar Incremental Heating Data

Description: An Ar-40/Ar-39 and U-Pb study was performed of the Geysers plutonic complex of the Geysers Geothermal Field in California. Sixty-nine ion microprobe spot analyses of zircons from four granite samples from the plutonic complex that underlies the Geysers geothermal field yielded Pb-207/Pb-206 vs. U-238/Pb-206 concordia ages ranging from 1.13 {+-} 0.04 Ma to 1.25 {+-} 0.04 Ma. The U-Pb ages coincide closely with Ar-40/Ar-39 age spectrum plateau and ''terminal'' ages from coexisting K-feldspars and with the eruption ages of overlying volcanic rocks. The data indicate that the granite crystallized at 1.18 Ma and had cooled below 350 C by {approximately}0.9-1.0 Ma. Interpretation of the feldspar Ar-40/Ar-39 age data using multi-diffusion domain theory indicates that post-emplacement rapid cooling was succeeded either by slower cooling from 350-300 C between 1.0 and 0.4 Ma or transitory reheating to 300-350 C at about 0.4-0.6 Ma. Heat flow calculations constrained with K-feldspar thermal histories and the pre sent elevated regional heal flow anomaly demonstrate that appreciable heat input from sources external to the known Geysers plutonic complex is required to maintain the geothermal system. This requirement is satisfied by either a large, underlying, convecting magma chamber (now solidified) emplaced at 1.2 Ma or episodic intrusion of smaller bodies from 1.2-0.6 Ma.
Date: August 19, 1999
Creator: California), T. M. Harrison (U of; U), G. B. Dalrymple (Oregon State; Utah), J. B. Hulen (U of; Lanphere, M. A.; Grove, M. & Lovera, O. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department