Electric Power Generation from Low-Temperature Geothermal Resources Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Electric Power Generation from Low-Temperature Geothermal Resources
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Geothermal Technologies Program
Project Type / Topic 2 Geothermal Energy Production from Low Temperature Resources, Coproduced Fluids from Oil and Gas Wells, and Geopressured Resources
Project Type / Topic 3 Low Temperature Resources
Project Description The team of university and industry engineers, scientists, and project developers will evaluate the power capacity, efficiency, and economics of five commercially available ORC engines in collaboration with the equipment manufacturers. The geothermal ORC system will be installed at an oil field operated by Continental Resources, Inc. in western North Dakota where geothermal fluids occur in sedimentary formations at depths of 10,000 feet. The power plant will be operated and monitored for two years to develop engineering and economic models for geothermal ORC energy production. Data and experience acquired can be used to facilitate the installation of similar geothermal ORC systems in other oil and gas settings.

It is essential to demonstrate that the technology can be replicated within a wide range of physical parameters including geothermal fluid temperatures, flow rates, and the price of electricity sales.

Successful demonstration that base-load power can be generated from low-temperature geothermal resources will spawn a new domestic industry, lead to job creation, and would be a positive step toward increasing domestic energy supplies and reducing CO2 buildup in the atmosphere.

State North Dakota
Objectives Demonstrate the technologic and economic feasibility of generating electricity from low temperature (T~210 ºF) geothermal water using binary, organic Rankine cycle (ORC) technology with air as the condensing medium.
Awardees (Company / Institution) University of North Dakota
Awardee Website http://www.und.nodak.edu/
Partner 1 Continental Resources, Inc.
Partner 2 Berrendo Geothermal
Partner 3 North Dakota Geological Survey

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000109
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $1,733,864.00
Awardee Cost Share $1,734,058.00
Total Project Cost $3,467,922.00

Principal Investigator(s) William Gosnold, Ph.D.
Other Principal Investigators Michael Mann, University of North Dakota; and Hossein Salehfar University of North Dakota

Location of Project Williston Basin (Bowman County), ND

Impacts Provides an opportunity to test geothermal ORC technology under various operating conditions found in low-temperature geothermal resources and in the widely varying continental climate setting of North Dakota.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs