U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Geothermal Technologies Program

Geothermal Energy Systems R&D

Learn what the National Laboratories are doing to study the performance of geothermal power plants and investigate methods to enhance their overall performance from a system point of view.

Co-production of Silica and Other Commodities from Geothermal Fluids

Organization: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Our objective is to develop silica and lithium extraction techniques that produce marketable by-products at specific field sites. Produced geothermal brines contain large quantities of dissolved silica that often forms scale in power production facilities. During FY2000 we collaborated with CalEnergy, a major energy producer at the Salton Sea, in an attempt to produce marketable silica precipitate from spent brines. Our work to date has focused on laboratory silica precipitation experiments using simulated Salton Sea geothermal brines. By varying the precipitation conditions and characterizing the silica precipitates, we have developed an understanding of how to produce silicas with optimum properties for commercial use.

We are currently doing our silica extraction tests at actual field sites. The goal is to develop a working silica precipitation process for each site that produces silica with properties that match a targeted silica market. We have identified technical contacts from the rubber industry and colloidal silica distributors to help identify material properties and likely markets for our produced silicas.

Back to Top

Silica Scale Inhibition

Organization: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Our objective is to inhibit silica scale formation in geothermal power plants. Silica scaling commonly occurs in power plants in high temperature geothermal fields. Silica scaling problems can be moderate, or so extreme that the power generation process must be specially designed to limit scaling. Despite the costs associated with preventing scale formation and/or removing and disposing of scale, the geothermal industry lacks effective, economical, and generally available silica scale inhibitors. To complicate matters, variations in fluid chemistry and plant conditions among geothermal fields can cause the effectiveness of an inhibitor to vary widely. The formation of silica scale can be broken down into four major steps: polymerization of monomeric silica, growth of polymeric silica to insoluble, amorphous silica particles, agglomerization of amorphous silica particles, and nucleation and growth of silica scale on solid substrates (e.g. piping). We will identify anti-scalants best suited for inhibiting silica scale formation by evaluating their ability to intervene in the key steps leading to scale deposition.

Back to Top

Mitigation of Impact of Off-Design Operation

Organization: Idaho National Laboratory
Because geothermal resources (especially liquid-dominated) are relatively low temperature energy sources, changes in the resource or ambient temperature can have a significant impact on plant performance. This is especially true of air-cooled binary plants, which are typically designed for an average or mean annual temperature. Design at this temperature results in the plants generating substantially less than rated capacity during the warmer periods when power demand (and market price) is the highest. On a summer day, the output from one of these plants can decrease by up to 40%. This project supports the geothermal program objective of reducing the levelized cost of electricity. The task objective is to identify and evaluate methods of minimizing the effects that operating at off-design conditions have on the power generation from geothermal binary power plants, and to define operational schemes that will increase plant revenues and minimize operating costs.

Back to Top

Power Plant Costing Methodology

Organization: Idaho National Laboratory
The viability and future growth of the domestic geothermal industry is contingent upon reducing both operating and capital costs. In order to assess whether advances in technologies for energy conversion systems are reducing these costs, it is necessary that costs for components and activities related to the production of electrical power are adequately defined. Historical costs, in terms of $/KW installed, provide a valuable perspective on the costs of geothermal plants, but do not adequately assess the impact of improvements to specific components or systems. In this project, methods are being developed that will allow power plant costs to be determined in detail sufficient to assess the large cost items and the impact of technology improvements on the cost of these plant components/systems. The methodology being developed is based upon publicly available costing information and commercially available software.

Back to Top

Enhancement of Air-Cooled Condensers

Organization: Idaho National Laboratory
Binary geothermal plants lacking a supply of water for an evaporative cooling system, reject heat directly to the ambient. Because air is a poor heat transfer medium, a large surface area of the condenser tubes is required. An EPRI report [1] indicates that the cost of air-cooled condenser can be up to ~25% of the total plant cost (including well field). Improving the performance of the condensers is expected to have a significant impact on reducing the cost of power generated from these plants. The objective of this project is to improve air-cooled condenser heat transfer performance (overall heat transfer coefficient) by at least ~15%, resulting in lowering condenser cost without increasing the air-side pressure drop and fan parasitic power consumption. It would mean generating more power and reducing cost/kWh.

Back to Top

Microbiological Research

Organization: Idaho National Laboratory
The high densities of microorganisms found in geothermal plant cooling systems may impact their operational efficiency either directly by reducing heat transfer through condenser systems or cooling towers, or indirectly by altering the interfacial chemistry of metallic substrates influencing corrosion. In addition, microbiological activity may reduce the effectiveness of corrosion inhibitors, protective coatings, or other chemical treatments used in the plants. The economic impact of this activity has been estimated to be as high as $500,000 annually for a 100 MWe plant. In spite of the high costs associated with biofouling, few plants have biological monitoring programs in place. This work is aimed at investigating the impacts of microbiological activity on the efficient operation of geothermal power production facilities and supporting the industry in identifying and mitigating these effects.

Back to Top

Continual Removal of Non-Condensable Gases For Binary Power Plant Condensers

Organization: Idaho National Laboratory
The presence of non-condensable gases (NCGs) in a vapor condensing on a cold surface is known to degrade heat transfer coefficients and raise condenser pressure. Binary plants have NCGs in their working fluid vapors that can be introduced into the system several ways. This results in an average turbine output that is reduced from what would be obtainable with a minimum NCG content in the condenser. In order to increase turbine output, continual removal of NCGs would be beneficial. Because membranes have been developed for the separation of condensable organic vapors from NCGs, a membrane system for this continual removal has been proposed. Research will be conducted to validate the use of a membrane-based technology as a cost-effective means for continual removal of non-condensable gases from binary power plant condensers. Successful development of this technology will minimize the performance penalty associated with these gases and will reduce the working fluid losses associated with current removal methods.

Back to Top

Pipe Coatings

Organization: Idaho National Laboratory
Extreme geothermal operating environments cause corrosion and force the use exotic materials for piping and components, or require frequent replacement of these components if common materials of construction are used. In support of the geothermal program goal of reducing the cost of producing power from geothermal energy this effort will reduce the maintenance cost due to corrosion. This project investigates the functionality of thermally sprayed coatings for geothermal applications as a substitute for costly bulk materials. Both the technical feasibility and the potential to reduce costs will be validated so that geothermal companies can directly acquire the services from coating companies. The cost reduction of using interior coatings vs bulk alloys is considered a 10:1 reduction due to capital costs and labor savings.

Back to Top

Geothermal Process Gas Monitors

Organization: Idaho National Laboratory
Geothermal plants contain gaseous and particulate species in process streams that require abatement to minimize equipment damage, maximize performance and/or meet regulatory requirements. These abatement processes involve the use of costly chemicals or the consumption of energy. They are also conservatively applied, in part because the targeted species are only measured periodically. Examples of these processes include the over-application of iron chelate to ensure hydrogen sulfide emissions from cooling stacks remain within the regulated limits or excessive steam washing to remove particulate and reduce chloride concentrations to levels that will not damage plant components. Steam washing reduces the steam's energy content and may also contribute to erosion damage and scaling by adding moisture to the system. Losses in turbine efficiency due to scaling can approach 5%, or $650,000 in lost revenue per year for a 50 MWe plant, while the cost to replace a damaged turbine is on the order of $5,000,000. The objective of this program is to lower the cost of geothermal power production through the development and verification of low maintenance instrumentation for the real-time detection and control of various process parameters.

Back to Top

Heat Exchanger Field Tests

Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Heat exchangers in service at geothermal power plants are often exposed to highly fouling and corrosive brine. This task is developing low-cost polymer coatings to be applied to inexpensive carbon steel shell-and-tube heat exchangers in geothermal service. The coated steel will have corrosion resistance, maintainability, and durability equivalent to high-alloy stainless steels or nickel-based alloys. The task encompasses three specific areas: liner and liner application development, heat exchanger design, and field tests. The task involves collaboration between NREL, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and industry (Mammoth Pacific LP, Bonnett Geothermal, FPL Energy, Bob Curran & Sons, Steamboat Geothermal). The results from field tests in previous fiscal years have demonstrated that polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) based coatings are the most effective in geothermal service. This task will conduct field tests of PPS coatings with a variety of filler materials. Field-testing will be expanded to include new sites. At new geothermal environments, tests will occur initially with coupons. Long-term evaluations will be through the use of coated tubes exposed to a side stream of geothermal fluid. Commercially coated tubes, tube bundles, or other brine-wetted components will be installed at various sites as industry interest allows. Tests last a minimum of six months and monitoring and evaluation will continue into following fiscal years. This task includes working with industry to commercialize the technology. The formulations and application methods will be altered to address weaknesses evident in the test results.

Back to Top

Field Demonstration and Evaluation of Lined Heat Exchanger Tubes

Organization: Brookhaven National Laboratory
BNL in collaboration with NREL has worked to optimize the formulation of material systems possessing excellent thermal conductivity and corrosion/oxidation/wear/fouling. A yearlong field validation test at Mammoth Pacific showed that the lining systems remained intact, demonstrating their outstanding performance in protecting the tubes against corrosion and fouling. Bob Curran & Son Corp. commercialized this lining material system in 2001, under the trade name "TS-2500". For the tube end coatings, polyfluorocarbon (PFC) was selected based on the results of tests. The field performance tests of PFC-coated test panels currently are being undertaken at East Mesa Power Plant. In 2001, BNL installed the state-of-the-art apparatus that is used for lining the 40-feet-long tubes at a horizontal. BNL will perform the post-approval tests to determine its technical feasibility and reproducibility of the liners deposited on the 40-feet-long tubes. The factors to be assessed will include the liner's thickness, surface roughness and its adherence to underlying tube surfaces. Cross-sectional profiles of the lining layers will be examined. The effectiveness of the liners in reducing the rates of corrosion and abrasive wear will be investigated. All the data obtained will be integrated in the report. If BNL succeeds in fabricating a defect-free, uniform, smooth continuous liner, then the performance of lined HX tubes will be tested in the field at the Mammoth and East Mesa Power Plants. BNL also will prepare four 20-feet-long HX tubes lined with high thermal conductive and ductile materials. They will be sent to NREL for a long-term field evaluation at the Mammoth Power Plant site to estimate the useful life span of the liners. After this field-testing, BNL will measure the performance of these lined HX tubes. In addition, the electrostatic powder coating technology of PPS for the tube ends and sheets will be developed in collaboration with Bob Curran & Sons Corp.

Back to Top

High-Performance Coating Materials

Organization: Brookhaven National Laboratory
In 2001, focus was upon developing a technology that improves the mechanical behaviors and enhances the thermal conductivity of boehmite ceramic-and SiC grit-incorporated PPS materials. These materials are intended for use up to 200°C. Chopped carbon fibers incorporated into the PPS matrix significantly improved these properties. The carbon fiber-reinforced PPS composite coatings exhibited outstanding mechanical properties. The thermal conductivity of the non-reinforced PPS increased ~ 60 % after adding an appropriate amount of fiber. One important question still remained: How to repair any damage caused by micron- and nano-sized cracks generated in the matrix during mechanical loading and service life, and also, how to retard growth of the crack. The repair mechanism can be active (a human induced field action) or passive (self-healing). The self-healing concepts will involve two different procedures: One is to incorporate micro- and nano-sized encapsulated healing agents into the composite; and the other involves using hydraulic inorganic fillers, which are capable of crystal growth in hydrothermal environments. Asbury Graphite Mills Inc is designing Carbon fibers graphitized to different extents. These fibers will be incorporated into the PPS matrix to prepare the composite coatings conferring a better thermal transfer coefficient. The 1010 carbon steel panels coated with carbon fiber-reinforced PPS composites will be exposed to hot brine at 200°C in the laboratory, and then their potential will be evaluated for use as anti-corrosion, - oxidation, and -fouling coatings with increased thermal conductivity, ductility, and flexibility. BNL will design a smart self-healing composite material that can seal cracks in the matrix, restore strength in damaged areas, and also retard the propagation of cracks. In addition, BNL will develop an anneal-induced crack healing technology in the field, using an impedance heating system. A 3-month short-term filed exposure test for the panels with these new coatings will be performed at the Mammoth Pacific and East Mesa Power Plants to evaluate their usefulness for heat exchanger tubes. The susceptibility of the new coating surfaces to silica scale deposits will be assessed in collaboration with the Thermochem Company.

Back to Top

Air-Cooled Condensers

Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Because of the thermodynamics of operating power cycles at typical geothermal resource temperatures, approximately 90% of the heat extracted from the ground must be rejected to the environment. As a result, condensers account for as much as 30% of total plant capital cost or 20% of electricity cost. Water-cooled condensers are preferable from a performance standpoint, although air-cooled condensers are widely used in geothermal power plants because of the lack of clean cooling water. The cost of geothermal electricity can be decreased significantly if performance of the heat rejection systems can be improved. This is especially true for air-cooled plants during summer operation when electric output can drop by 40% due to elevated air temperatures.

NREL has developed spreadsheet and other computer-based models to evaluate the impact of improved condenser designs and operation strategies. One key result to date has suggested that the use of lower design flow rates in air-cooled condensers can reduce the total electricity cost. NREL has used the models to compare different fin designs for air-cooled condensers, and we have identified potential performance improvements in using plate fins in place of helically wound fins. In particular, research efforts have included the prototype construction of a new plate fin design that uses perforations to increase local heat transfer on the fin surface. We are working with Super Radiator Coils, a manufacturer of plate fins to compare the heat transfer and pressure drop performance of both plain plate fins and perforated plate fins to helically-wound fins. Work on improved fins is motivated by the fact that thermal resistance is higher on the air side than the working fluid side. However, hydrocarbon condensation is relatively inefficient compared to steam condensation, so improvements to tube-side heat transfer also warrant consideration.

NREL developed a spreadsheet to compare the cost and performance of various options for evaporatively pre-cooling air. This work has shown that the use of a deluging system or Munters packing can significantly improve summer performance. As part of this effort, we have provided analytical and measurement support to the Mammoth Lakes power plant in their efforts to implement evaporative cooling systems. We are also investigating ways to combine water cooling with air cooling and, in cooperation with the Field Verification task, we are investigating the potential advantages of using evaporative condensers instead of shell-and-tube condensers at the new Empire 1 MW power plant.

We will make improvements in our model of evaporative enhancement systems, including the addition of an evaporative condenser in series with air-cooled condensers. We will support power plant operators in their development of evaporative enhancement systems and associated issues such as generator and turbine cooling. We will provide technical support to the design of the heat rejection system at Empire. Because our spreadsheet analysis has shown considerable potential for deluging condenser tubes with water, and since this is not currently being done, we will investigate the cost and reliability issues associated with this option. We will establish a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Super Radiator Coils. They will build perforated and non-perforated plate fin prototypes, which we will test at an independent laboratory (Intertech Testing Services). Based on the heat transfer and pressure drop test results as well as manufacturing cost considerations, we will determine whether plate-fin cores (either plain, perforated, or otherwise enhanced) warrant consideration for geothermal power plant applications as an alternative to helically-wound finned tubes. If so, we will seek to develop a collaboration between SRC and a geothermal industry partner to develop a full-scale prototype. We will also analytically assess the potential for other fin-side enhancements (such a louvered and slit fins) and tube-side enhancements (such as spiral inserts) based on published data.

Back to Top

Component Development for Ammonia/Water Power Cycles

Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
NREL researchers designed a prototype absorber/cooler (air-cooled) with specific considerations for mixing of vapor with lean liquid inside this component as well as enhanced air-side heat transfer coefficient. Benefits of this work are many, including reduced condenser size (and hence reduced cost), and reduced turbine back-pressure (and hence increased power generation). NREL has developed a procedure for the design and fabrication of this type of finned plate heat exchanger that can operate at high pressures. However, this procedure needs to be significantly modified to be cost effective. The significance of this task is that it will provide a much needed heat rejection system that utilizes air instead of water and will not have problems associated with tube and shell configurations. It is important that this technology be transferred to the US industry. The mechanism is to partner with an important industrial company. A main candidate is APV, which is familiar with NREL's work and has been involved with Exergy in the design and fabrication of heat exchangers for Kalina cycles.

NREL has completed single tube condenser tests over a wide range of flow conditions and has initiated a subcontract with HTRI to incorporate NREL's data into HTRI code.

During FY02, we will test and perfect the performance of a plate-fin absorber/cooler fabricated at NREL. NREL will actively seek an industry partner for taking this product to the next stage of mass production. NREL will subcontract a heat exchanger manufacturer to design a more effective liquid and vapor distribution system for the plate-fin heat exchanger. NREL will also work with this manufacturer to identify the best assembly technique for the plates, so each plate can be removed from the assembled unit independently. NREL will investigate the impact of various fin configurations and airflow passages for optimum heat transfer. This activity will be carried out at NREL with collaboration with our industry partner.

Back to Top

Plant Performance Enhancement and Optimization

Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
This task characterizes the performance of geothermal power plants and investigates methods to enhance their overall performance from a system point of view. One opportunity is to improve the chemistry for the hydrogen sulfide abatement. A chelating agent, Iron chelate, is normally used in the conversion of hydrogen sulfide to soluble thiosulfate. The chelate captures atmospheric oxygen and makes it available for eventual oxidation of the sulfur. Chelate concentrations of 10 ppb are commonly used in the circulating water in the power plants at The Geysers. With process improvements, there is a potential for reduction of this concentration and of the use of chelate substantially. NREL's support to the industry research team can add considerable value to the progress and implementation of improved abatement systems. This is an industry driven research project with potential for substantial cost reduction in power generation from geothermal resources. Calpine Corporation, in collaboration with PG&E Chemical Services group is looking into modifying the oxygenation process for improving the abatement chemical use. NREL will participate as part of this research team in an effort to investigate potential means for reducing the consumption of chemicals in the abatement process. NREL will develop a detailed three-dimensional model of the flow field using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. NREL researchers will identify areas of major resistance to the oxygenation process in the cooling tower risers. NREL may propose modifications to the risers to improve the diffusion of the injected atmospheric air into the circulating water stream. Different options will be considered for evaluation of their practicality. Rankings of the various options will result in a recommended option for consideration for retrofit at Unit 11. This research team will then take on the task for implementation. Results of the investigations will be summarized in a technical report and presented in trade conferences.

Back to Top

Geothermal Silica Recovery

Organization: Brookhaven National Laboratory
Silica precipitation as a scale in geothermal power plants is an operating problem. There is the opportunity to turn this problem into a source of additional income by controlling the precipitation to produce commercial grade silica for the merchant market. The end use of the silica can be varied, ranging from very high value chromatographic grade to low value rubber blend grade. BNL has worked with Caithness Operating Company for preliminary demonstration of recovery high grade silica via a pilot facility at Dixie Valley, NV. This task will:

  • Develop brine treatments to reduce silica scale formation.
  • Collaborate and support the pilot tests for amorphous silica production at Caithness Dixie Valley (NV) LLC, Yankee-Caithness Steamboat Spring (NV) and Coso Operating Company (CA) sites.

Back to Top

High-Temperature Polymeric Elastomers

Organization: Brookhaven National Laboratory
A serious problem confronting at the Mammoth Pacific geothermal power plant is the failure of the down-hole pumps. The harsh, hostile environment quickly causes significant damage to the pumping equipment, particularly to the pump's shafting component. Thus, the existing down-hole pumps must be modified to deal with this problem. High-temperature performance polymeric elastomers are very attractive materials to use in the new bearing system of conventional pumps because they may mitigate damage to the shafting components, and allow the oil lubricant to be replaced by a water one. To achieve this goal, three heat resistant elastic polymers, acrylonitrile/butadiene copolymer (nitrile rubber), fluorinated ethylene-propylene (fluoroelastomer, Vitonâ), and ethlene-propylene-diene-terpolymer (EPDM) were used as the bearing elastomers and were exposed to a geothermal environment. The nitrile rubber underwent sever degradation shortly after this exposure. Compared with that of the nitrile rubber, the Viton elastomer significantly extended its useful lifetime as a bearing. However, the chemical and physical analyses of the 1-year-old Viton revealed that ~ 25 % of the bearing already had suffered from hydrothermal oxidation-inspired degradation in only this limited period. In contrast, the EPDM has a far better resistance to oxidation, compared with the Viton bearing. The degree of its oxidation was 3.5 times less than that of the Viton. BNL will perform the post-test analyses of the EPDM bearing used for > 1 year in the Mammoth Power Plant to ensure that this bearing has a useful lifetime of at least 10 years. Also, the EPDM will be exposed in autoclave at 200°C to conduct the oxidation-accelerating tests at BNL. The autoclaved EPDM will be analyzed to obtain data on the changes in chemical composition and states, the rate of hydrothermal oxidation, alternations in microstructure, thermal stability, and mechanical strength employing techniques of XPS, FT-IR, SEM-EDX, TGA, and the Instron tensile machine. Integrating the findings will provide us with the information on its oxidation kinetics, thereby leading to the prediction of its useful lifetime.

Back to Top

Non-Destructive Testing of Corrosion/Erosion Damage in Piping Systems

Principal Investigators: M.L. Berndt and A.J. Philippacopoulos; BNL; (631) 344 3060/(631) 344 6090;
Organization: Brookhaven National Laboratory
In FY2001 BNL's NDT program for evaluating corrosion and erosion-corrosion of geothermal piping systems focused on experimental and modeling studies with the objective of applying more reliable and cost effective methods for condition assessment. Initial experimental studies were carried out on a set of steel pipes with diameters ranging from 6 to 24 inches. These pipes were subjected to different forms of corrosion during their in-service life. NDT investigations were concerned with ultrasonic damage mapping which is very useful in subsequent remaining life assessments. A review of available NDT methods was performed that revealed the applicability and limitations with respect to geothermal plants. Two long-range methods were selected for further investigation on the basis of potential improved performance, reliability and economics. These are dynamic response and long-range guided wave methods. The former is based on principles of structural dynamics while the latter on elastic wave propagation theory. Although the basic concept of dynamic NDT has been established theoretically, experience has shown that it is difficult to apply it in practice and further research is necessary to make this method viable for geothermal piping. The guided wave method is more developed and requires analysis and demonstration of its usefulness in geothermal systems. The primary type of NDT to be investigated in FY02 will be based on long-range guided wave propagation. Numerical modeling studies will be conducted in conjunction with experimental and field tests. The modeling work will give us confidence of the procedure, calibrate our models and will support the experimental and field studies. Field evaluation of the guided wave method at a geothermal plant is planned. Prior to this, lengths of corroded pipe will be tested ex-situ to verify that the technique will work. Comparison of the guided wave tests with conventional ultrasonic wall thickness tests will be made in terms of performance and costs. Vibration methods will be evaluated theoretically for feasibility of global screening of piping systems including bends, elbows and straight sections for damage. Research will also be performed on integration of the results from NDT with remaining strength and life assessment and reliability centered maintenance. Different methodologies for predicting remaining strength and life will be investigated.

Back to Top

Field-Verification of Small-Scale Geothermal Power Plants

Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Small-scale geothermal power plants are attractive because they offer a geothermal means to provide distributed power and expand geothermal use to states that have not been large users of geothermal energy. These plants are potentially more expensive on a per-kilowatt basis compared to larger plants because of the high fixed costs of exploration and drilling, and field verification of innovative designs is needed to show that costs can be reduced. An FY 2000 study by NREL revealed that with a government cost share, there was considerable opportunity for small-scale geothermal plants in several Western states. A solicitation was issued on March 23, 2000 requesting proposals for plants in the size range of 300 kW to 1 MW. Proposals were received on June 22, 2000, and 5 winners were announced. Each project consists of three or four phases: I) preliminary design, IA) well drilling (if necessary), II) detailed design, and III) construction, and operation and data collection for a 3-year period. Contracts were awarded to three projects: Exergy-AmeriCulture, Empire Energy, and Milgro-Newcastle. Phase I work on all three projects began in FY 2001. The DOE Golden Field Office with NREL providing a technical monitor is managing the Exergy-AmeriCulture project. The other two projects are managed by NREL, with each also having an NREL technical monitor. This work involves NEPA evaluation, contract management, design reviews, and technical support. A technical monitor is assigned to each project with a time commitment of approximately 0.20 FTE per project. In addition, the technical monitors will meet regularly and, with the assistance of several outside experts, share knowledge, resolve issues and work together in design reviews. When problems arise, technical staff will perform analyses and tests needed to resolve them. R&D needs will also be identified. Project performance will be evaluated and documented.

Back to Top

Direct Use Field Verification

Organization: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
A competitive solicitation was performed in FY2001 to establish collaborative, cost-shared, direct use geothermal projects. Subcontracts are being placed with:

  • AmeriCulture
  • University of Idaho/Idaho Water Resources Research Institute
  • City of Klamath Falls
  • I'SOT
  • Takeshi Yoshida/Kurahashi & Associates

In addition, subcontracts are being placed with the Oregon Institute of Technology and Washington State University to integrate these pools of expertise into a DOE center of excellence for direct use. The following activities will be performed:

  1. Provide technical support and direction of 3-5 subcontracted direct use projects to be operated and evaluated for at least three years to show proof-of-concept of the project concepts and identify research and technology developments needs to reduce cost, reduce O&M, increase reliability and improve cost effectiveness

  2. Initiate a technology transfer /market development activity targeted at potential users and project developer

  3. Identify near-term technology development and engineering improvement requirements that the Program or the geothermal equipment industry should perform

  4. Develop, maintain and make analytical tools and models available to users

  5. Perform technology transfer/information dissemination

  6. Plan and conduct a "Geothermal Direct Use Pre-feasibility Studies" competitive solicitation.

Back to Top