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Title: Alternative Geothermal Power Production Scenarios

The information given in this file pertains to Argonne LCAs of the plant cycle stage for a set of ten new geothermal scenario pairs, each comprised of a reference and improved case. These analyses were conducted to compare environmental performances among the scenarios and cases. The types of plants evaluated are hydrothermal binary and flash and Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) binary and flash plants. Each scenario pair was developed by the LCOE group using GETEM as a way to identify plant operational and resource combinations that could reduce geothermal power plant LCOE values. Based on the specified plant and well field characteristics (plant type, capacity, capacity factor and lifetime, and well numbers and depths) for each case of each pair, Argonne generated a corresponding set of material to power ratios (MPRs) and greenhouse gas and fossil energy ratios.
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
FY13 AOP 1
Product Type:
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Argonne National Laboratory
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; alternative scenarios; life cycle metrics; greenhouse gas ratios; LCOEs; LCA; GHG ratio; energy ratio; material to power ratios
OSTI Identifier:
  1. The Geothermal Data Repository (GDR) is the submission point for all data collected from researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office (DOE GTO). The DOE GTO is providing access to its geothermal project information through the GDR. The GDR is powered by OpenEI, an energy information portal sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
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  1. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is an environmental assessment method that quantifies the environmental performance of a product system over its entire lifetime, from cradle to grave. Based on a set of relevant metrics, the method is aptly suited for comparing the environmental performance of competingmore » products systems. This file contains LCA data and results for electric power production including geothermal power. The LCA for electric power has been broken down into two life cycle stages, namely plant and fuel cycles. Relevant metrics include the energy ratio and greenhouse gas (GHG) ratios, where the former is the ratio of system input energy to total lifetime electrical energy out and the latter is the ratio of the sum of all incurred greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) divided by the same energy output. Specific information included herein are material to power (MPR) ratios for a range of power technologies for conventional thermoelectric, renewables (including three geothermal power technologies), and coproduced natural gas/geothermal power. For the geothermal power scenarios, the MPRs include the casing, cement, diesel, and water requirements for drilling wells and topside piping. Also included herein are energy and GHG ratios for plant and fuel cycle stages for the range of considered electricity generating technologies. Some of this information are MPR data extracted directly from the literature or from models (eg. ICARUS – a subset of ASPEN models) and others (energy and GHG ratios) are results calculated using GREET models and MPR data. MPR data for wells included herein were based on the Argonne well materials model and GETEM well count results. « less
  2. This calculator is a handy tool for interested parties to estimate two key life cycle metrics, fossil energy consumption (Etot) and greenhouse gas emission (ghgtot) ratios, for geothermal electric power production. It is based solely on data developed by Argonne National Laboratory for DOE’s Geothermalmore » Technologies office. The calculator permits the user to explore the impact of a range of key geothermal power production parameters, including plant capacity, lifetime, capacity factor, geothermal technology, well numbers and depths, field exploration, and others on the two metrics just mentioned. Estimates of variations in the results are also available to the user. « less
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  4. The US Geological Survey (USGS) resource assessment (Williams et al., 2009) outlined a mean 30GWe of undiscovered hydrothermal resource in the western US. One goal of the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) is to accelerate the development of this undiscovered resource. The Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP)more » Blue Ribbon Panel (GTO, 2011) recommended that DOE focus efforts on helping industry identify hidden geothermal resources to increase geothermal capacity in the near term. Increased exploration activity will produce more prospects, more discoveries, and more readily developable resources. Detailed exploration case studies akin to those found in oil and gas (e.g. Beaumont, et al, 1990) will give operators a single point of information to gather clean, unbiased information on which to build geothermal drilling prospects. To support this effort, the National Renewable Energy laboratory (NREL) has been working with the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a template for geothermal case studies on the Geothermal Gateway on OpenEI. In fiscal year 2013, the template was developed and tested with two case studies: Raft River Geothermal Area ( and Coso Geothermal Area ( In fiscal year 2014, ten additional case studies were completed, and additional features were added to the template to allow for more data and the direct citations of data. The template allows for: Data - a variety of data can be collected for each area, including power production information, well field information, geologic information, reservoir information, and geochemistry information. Narratives ? general (e.g. area overview, history and infrastructure), technical (e.g. exploration history, well field description, R&D activities) and geologic narratives (e.g. area geology, hydrothermal system, heat source, geochemistry.) Exploration Activity Catalog - catalog of exploration activities conducted in the area (with dates and references.) NEPA Analysis ? a query of NEPA analyses conducted in the area (that have been catalogued in the OpenEI NEPA database.) In fiscal year 2015, NREL is working with universities to populate additional case studies on OpenEI. The goal is to provide a large enough dataset to start conducting analyses of exploration programs to identify correlations between successful exploration plans for areas with similar geologic occurrence models. « less
  5. The information given in this file represents GHG emissions and corresponding emission rates for California flash and dry steam geothermal power plants. This stage of the life cycle is the fuel use component of the fuel cycle and arises during plant operation. Despite that nomore » fossil fuels are being consumed during operation of these plants, GHG emissions nevertheless arise from GHGs present in the geofluids and dry steam that get released to the atmosphere upon passing through the system. Data for the years of 2008 to 2012 are analyzed. « less