The following is from the Oct. 20, 2008, edition of Sustainable Business. Professor David Blackwell of the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in SMU's Dedman College provided expertise for this story.
October 20, 2008
Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) announced the successful co-production of geothermal power at a producing oil well. This project marks the first of its kind by providing onsite fuel-free power that Ormat says will increase the productivity and possibly extend the longevity of existing U.S. oil fields.
Ormat, in a joint project with the Department of Energy (DOE) at the Rocky Mountain Oil Test Center (RMOTC), say they have validated the feasibility of technology already used in Geothermal and Recovered Energy Generation (REG) for the production of commercial electricity using hot water produced during the process of oil and gas field production.
The project, conducted near Casper, Wyoming, uses an Ormat Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power generation system to produce commercial electricity.
"With Ormat's advancement in binary turbine technology and the increased drilling for oil and gas exploration, the U.S. is primed for additional geothermal development," according to Dr. David Blackwell of Southern Methodist University.
"In the past 20 years, Ormat's ORC power technology has optimized the range of exploitable geothermal resources from low to moderate temperatures previously discarded" said Lucien Bronicki, Chairman of Ormat.
Clarke Turner, director of RMOTC, said, "Ormat Technologies and RMOTC have partnered to bring another transition here; for the first time in the world electricity is generated from hot water co-produced in an operating oilfield. Similar Ormat power plants located around the world produce one thousand megawatts (MW) of power and hundreds more are scheduled to come online in the U.S."
The oil fields in the United States could provide an additional 5,000 MW of electricity for the United States through this technology, according to United States Senator Mike Enzi (R - Wyoming).
The Ormat ORC unit being used is similar to the 250 kilowatts (kW) air-cooled unit that has been producing electricity from 210 degrees Fahrenheit geothermal water at an Austrian resort since 2001. Additionally, there are similar units in Nevada (700 kW) and Thailand (300 kW) that have been in continuous commercial operation and without overhaul, since 1984 and 1989, respectively.
Ormat is now assessing the feasibility of utilizing these wells to support on site power generation by employing Ormat's factory integrated sub megawatt geothermal power units, based on the Company's proprietary ORC technology, which has been field proven in installations totaling 1,000 MW worldwide.
About Ormat Technologies
Ormat Technologies, Inc. is a vertically-integrated company primarily engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy power business. The Company designs, develops, builds, owns and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants. Additionally, the Company designs, manufactures and sells geothermal and recovered energy power units and other power generating equipment, and provides related services. Ormat products and systems total more than 1,000 MW and are covered by more than 75 patents. Ormat currently owns and operates 410 MW of geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants in the United States, Guatemala, Kenya and Nicaragua.
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