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Title: Scale Resistant Heat Exchanger for Low Temperature Geothermal Binary Cycle Power Plant

Phase 1 of the investigation of improvements to low temperature geothermal power systems was completed. The improvements considered were reduction of scaling in heat exchangers and a hermetic turbine generator (eliminating seals, seal system, gearbox, and lube oil system). A scaling test system with several experiments was designed and operated at Coso geothermal resource with brine having a high scaling potential. Several methods were investigated at the brine temperature of 235 ºF. One method, circulation of abradable balls through the brine passages, was found to substantially reduce scale deposits. The test heat exchanger was operated with brine outlet temperatures as low as 125 ºF, which enables increased heat input available to power conversion systems. For advanced low temperature cycles, such as the Variable Phase Cycle (VPC) or Kalina Cycle, the lower brine temperature will result in a 20-30% increase in power production from low temperature resources. A preliminary design of an abradable ball system (ABS) was done for the heat exchanger of the 1 megawatt VPC system at Coso resource. The ABS will be installed and demonstrated in Phase 2 of this project, increasing the power production above that possible with the present 175 ºF brine outlet limit. A hermeticmore » turbine generator (TGH) was designed and manufacturing drawings produced. This unit will use the working fluid (R134a) to lubricate the bearings and cool the generator. The 200 kW turbine directly drives the generator, eliminating a gearbox and lube oil system. Elimination of external seals eliminates the potential of leakage of the refrigerant or hydrocarbon working fluids, resulting in environmental improvement. A similar design has been demonstrated by Energent in an ORC waste heat recovery system. The existing VPC power plant at Coso was modified to enable the “piggyback” demonstration of the TGH. The existing heat exchanger, pumps, and condenser will be operated to provide the required process conditions for the TGH demonstration. Operation of the TGH with and without the ABS system will demonstrate an increase in geothermal resource productivity for the VPC from 1 MW/(million lb) of brine to 1.75 MW/(million lb) of brine, a 75% increase.« less
  1. Energent Corporation, Santa Ana, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Energent Corporation, Santa Ana, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Country of Publication:
United States