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Title: Use of a Geothermal-Solar Hybrid Power Plant to Mitigate Declines in Geothermal Resource Productivity

Many, if not all, geothermal resources are subject to decreasing productivity manifested in the form of decreasing brine temperature, flow rate, or both during the life span of the associated power generation project. The impacts of resource productivity decline on power plant performance can be significant; a reduction in heat input to a power plant not only decreases the thermal energy available for conversion to electrical power, but also adversely impacts the power plant conversion efficiency. The reduction in power generation is directly correlated to a reduction in revenues from power sales. Further, projects with Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contracts in place may be subject to significant economic penalties if power generation falls below the default level specified. A potential solution to restoring the performance of a power plant operating from a declining productivity geothermal resource involves the use of solar thermal energy to restore the thermal input to the geothermal power plant. There are numerous technical merits associated with a renewable geothermal-solar hybrid plant in which the two heat sources share a common power block. The geo-solar hybrid plant could provide a better match to typical electrical power demand profiles than a stand-alone geothermal plant. The hybrid plant couldmore » also eliminate the stand-alone concentrated solar power plant thermal storage requirement for operation during times of low or no solar insolation. This paper identifies hybrid plant configurations and economic conditions for which solar thermal retrofit of a geothermal power plant could improve project economics. The net present value of the concentrated solar thermal retrofit of an air-cooled binary geothermal plant is presented as functions of both solar collector array cost and electricity sales price.« less
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Conference: Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting,Portland, Oregon,09/28/2014,10/01/2014
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; 14 SOLAR ENERGY; Air-Cooled Binary Geothermal Power Plant; concentrated solar power; hybrid power plant; organic Rankine cycle