Low Temperature & Coproduced Resources

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A new high efficiency expander design at the Beowawe Flash plant utilizes low temperature geothermal fluids to generate an additional 2.5 MW of electric power.

A new high efficiency expander design at the Beowawe Flash plant utilizes low temperature geothermal fluids to generate an additional 2.5 MW of electric power.

What are Low-Temperature & Coproduced Resources?

Low-Temperature & Coproduced Resources represent a small but growing sector of hydrothermal development in geothermal resources below 150°C (300°F). Considered non-conventional hydrothermal resources, these technologies are bringing valuable returns on investment in the near-term, using unique power production methods. The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) works with industry, academia, and national laboratories to develop and deploy new low-temperature and coproduction technologies that will help the geothermal community achieve widespread adoption of under-utilized low-temperature resources.

The Energy Department recently announced $3 million for research and development to help grow U.S. low-to-moderate-temperature geothermal resources and support a domestic supply of critical materials. 

Low-temperature geothermal energy is defined as heat obtained from the geothermal fluid in the ground at temperatures of 300°F (150°C) or less. These resources are typically used in direct-use applications, such as district heating, greenhouses, fisheries, mineral recovery, and industrial process heating. However, some low-temperature resources can be harnessed to generate electricity using binary cycle electricity generating technology.

Hot geothermal fluid is a byproduct of many oil and gas wells within the United States, and 25 billion barrels of it are produced each year. Historically this hot water has been an inconvenience and a disposal issue; however, it is now being looked at as a resource to produce electricity for field use or to be sold to the grid. These and other co-produced geothermal resources have the potential to produce significant amounts of baseload electricity at low costs and with near zero emissions.

GTO is working toward a goal of achieving widespread production of low-temperature power by 2020 through surface and down-hole technology advances, improved education and outreach, and increased collaboration between government and industry.

Deep Direct-Use promotes large scale, commercially viable systems that optimize the value stream of lower temperature resources through a cascade of uses, from electricity generation to direct heating and cooling, industrial and commercial applications, and agricultural uses. Take a look at this new technology under exploration by the Department of Energy.

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Low-Temperature and Coproduced Resources Fact Sheet

Fact sheet on the U.S. Department of Energy's low-temperature and coproduced resources program area. These unconventional resources, below 300°F,...

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