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Title: Geothermal Produced Fluids: Characteristics, Treatment Technologies, and Management Options

Geothermal power plants use geothermal fluids as a resource and create waste residuals as part of the power generation process. Both the geofluid resource and the waste stream are considered produced fluids. The chemical and physical nature of produced fluids can have a major impact on the geothermal power industry and can influence the feasibility of geothermal power development, exploration approaches, power plant design, operating practices, and the reuse or disposal of residuals. In general, produced fluids include anything that comes out of a geothermal field and that subsequently must be managed on the surface. These fluids vary greatly depending on the geothermal reservoir being harnessed, power plant design, and the life cycle stage in which the fluid exists, but generally include water and fluids used to drill geothermal wells, fluids used to stimulate wells in enhanced geothermal systems, and makeup and/or cooling water used during operation of a geothermal power plant. Additional geothermal-related produced fluids include many substances that are similar to waste streams from the oil and gas industry, such as scale, flash tank solids, precipitated solids from brine treatment, hydrogen sulfide, and cooling-tower-related waste. This review paper aims to provide baseline knowledge on specific technologies and technologymore » areas associated with geothermal power production. Specifically, this research focused on the management techniques related to fluids produced and used during the operational stage of a geothermal power plant; the vast majority of which are employed in the generation of electricity. The general characteristics of produced fluids are discussed. Constituents of interest that tend to drive the selection of treatment technologies are described, including total dissolved solids, noncondensable gases, scale and corrosion, silicon dioxide, metal sulfides, calcium carbonate, corrosion, metals, and naturally occurring radioactive material. Management options for produced fluids that require additional treatment for these constituents are also discussed, including surface disposal, reuse and recycle, agricultural industrial and domestic uses, mineral extraction and recovery, and solid waste handling.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews; Journal Volume: 50
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - Office of Geothermal Technologies
Country of Publication:
United States
Beneficial reuse; Geothermal; Geothermal power plant; Management techniques; Produced fluids; Recycling