NSTI Nanotech 2009

The Business Of Geothemal Power: From Conventional To Unconventional…‘Sedimentary Basins’

R.J. Erdlac Jr.
Erdlac Energy Consulting, US

Keywords: geothermal, economics, conventional, sedimentary basins


Geothermal power production in the U.S. has focused on western states like California and Nevada. However, past investigations have shown the presence of an untapped geothermal resource ignored in sedimentary basins. Turbine technology can be used to generate electrical power from hot water purposefully produced from wells drilled in sedimentary basins, such as those for oil and gas. Various temperatures and flow rates can generate power of 25 kW/hr to around 2.5 megawatts/hr from a single well. This power can offset electric demands at a field or it may be sold into the power grid. Two example wells, from the Permian Basin and the Texas Gulf Coast, suggest the amount of electrical power that can be produced. Consideration of the available hot water in the subsurface can improve overall economics in a mature basin by providing production of three energy resources…oil, gas, and hot water for geothermal electrical power. The existing O&G infrastructure will reduce the overall cost of this energy development. Geothermal allows the O&G industry to move into renewable energy production using personnel, data, and technology already in existence. It offers the opportunity for improving company PR and offsetting of future potential carbon taxes affecting fossil fuels.
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