Geothermal Energy

About

Geothermal energy is a proven energy alternative having the lowest environmental impact and the most consistent power production. Binary geothermal emits no carbon or greenhouse gases having a very low environmental impact and consistent power production. By using electricity from current geothermal plants, 22 million tons of CO2 is prevented from entering the atmosphere each year. Likewise, 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 110,000 tons of particulates are also prevented from entering the atmosphere.

Geothermal energy today meets the total electricity needs of some 60 million people worldwide — roughly the population of the United Kingdom.
According to the Geothermal Energy Association, in 2010 geothermal power plants provided more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity to 24 countries worldwide. Geothermal energy today meets the total electricity needs of some 60 million people worldwide — roughly the population of the United Kingdom. The U.S. is the world’s largest developer of geothermal power. The U.S. is fortunate to have one of the largest concentrations of accessible geothermal resources in the world and energy from these already-identified reservoirs could contribute as much as 10 percent of the United States energy supply in the near future.

  • With a little over 3,000 megawatts of geothermal power installed, the U.S. produces a fraction of its geothermal potential
  • Geothermal is the only “base load” renewable energy with 24/7 availability
  • Binary Geothermal is one of the cleanest energy sources with zero emissions
  • New technology allows for the use of low-temperature resources, which are abundant in the western U.S.
  • The large majority of new geothermal power plants developed in the U.S. are low-temperature, binary plants

In a binary cycle power plant, the heat from the geothermal well water is transferred to a working fluid that flashes to vapor at temperatures as low as 57˚ F. The vapor from the working fluid turns the turbine and generates electricity. The geothermal water is never exposed to the air and is injected back into the reservoir to continue the cycle.

Binary technology allows the expanded use of abundant low temperature resources, thus increasing the amount of geothermal power that can be generated worldwide.

Bottom Cycling (Cascading Power Generation)
Generating additional power from a second stage of generators

Bottom cycling, or cascading, utilizes the geothermal well water that has already passed through a first set of power generation units and then passes the used water through a second set of power generation units to generate additional power. For example, after passing through the first set of power generation units, the water will be partially cooled. Even at this lower temperature the water is still hot enough to generate additional electricity. By passing the geothermal water through a second set of power generation units, additional electricity is generated, without any additional costs, such as drilling, transmission lines or cooling tower construction. The economics for this type of plant are very favorable.