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Title: Life Cycle Water Consumption and Water Resource Assessment for Utility-Scale Geothermal Systems: An In-Depth Analysis of Historical and Forthcoming EGS Projects

This report is the third in a series of reports sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Program in which a range of water-related issues surrounding geothermal power production are evaluated. The first report made an initial attempt at quantifying the life cycle fresh water requirements of geothermal power-generating systems and explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids. The initial analysis of life cycle fresh water consumption of geothermal power-generating systems identified that operational water requirements consumed the vast majority of water across the life cycle. However, it relied upon limited operational water consumption data and did not account for belowground operational losses for enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs). A second report presented an initial assessment of fresh water demand for future growth in utility-scale geothermal power generation. The current analysis builds upon this work to improve life cycle fresh water consumption estimates and incorporates regional water availability into the resource assessment to improve the identification of areas where future growth in geothermal electricity generation may encounter water challenges.
Authors:
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
244
DOE Contract Number:
ANL FY12 AOP 2
Product Type:
Dataset
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Collaborations:
Argonne National Laboratory
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Subject:
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; EGS; water; life cycle; water consumption; power; regional water resource assessment; stimulation; international; domestic; geology; permit; Nevada; production; injection; California; Oregon; operational; aboveground; make-up; cooling; well; observation well; NEPA; drilling; production well; injection well; chemical; flow test; circulation test; exploration well; loss; reservoir loss; belowground loss; operational loss; loss rate; life cycle assessment; water resource
OSTI Identifier:
1148816
  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. This report is the third in a series of reports sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Program in which a range of water-related issues surrounding geothermal power production are evaluated. The first report made an initial attempt at quantifying the life cyclemore » fresh water requirements of geothermal power-generating systems and explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids. The initial analysis of life cycle fresh water consumption of geothermal power-generating systems identified that operational water requirements consumed the vast majority of water across the life cycle. However, it relied upon limited operational water consumption data and did not account for belowground operational losses for enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs). A second report presented an initial assessment of fresh water demand for future growth in utility-scale geothermal power generation. The current analysis builds upon this work to improve life cycle fresh water consumption estimates and incorporates regional water availability into the resource assessment to improve the identification of areas where future growth in geothermal electricity generation may encounter water challenges. « less
  2. This report examines life cycle water consumption for various geothermal technologies to better understand factors that affect water consumption across the life cycle (e.g., power plant cooling, belowground fluid losses) and to assess the potential water challenges that future geothermal power generation projects may face.more » Previous reports in this series quantified the life cycle freshwater requirements of geothermal power-generating systems, explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids, and assessed future water demand by geothermal power plants according to growth projections for the industry. This report seeks to extend those analyses by including EGS flash, both as part of the life cycle analysis and water resource assessment. A regional water resource assessment based upon the life cycle results is also presented. Finally, the legal framework of water with respect to geothermal resources in the states with active geothermal development is also analyzed. « less
  3. 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
  4. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), geothermal energy generation in the United States is projected to more than triple by 2040 (EIA 2013). This addition, which translates to more than 5 GW of generation capacity, is anticipatedmore » because of technological advances and an increase in available sources through the continued development of enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs) and low-temperature resources (EIA 2013). Studies have shown that air emissions, water consumption, and land use for geothermal electricity generation have less of an impact than traditional fossil fuel?based electricity generation; however, the long-term sustainability of geothermal power plants can be affected by insufficient replacement of aboveground or belowground operational fluid losses resulting from normal operations (Schroeder et al. 2014). Thus, access to water is therefore critical for increased deployment of EGS technologies and, therefore, growth of the geothermal sector. This paper examines water issues relating to EGS development from a variety of perspectives. It starts by exploring the relationship between EGS site geology, stimulation protocols, and below ground water loss, which is one of the largest drivers of water consumption for EGS projects. It then examines the relative costs of different potential traditional and alternative water sources for EGS. Finally it summarizes specific state policies relevant to the use of alternative water sources for EGS, and finally explores the relationship between EGS site geology, stimulation protocols, and below ground water loss, which is one of the largest drivers of water consumption for EGS projects. « less
  5. 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.more » 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. « less