Geothermal District Heating System City of Klamath Falls

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Conference Proceedings: Geothermal District Heating System City of Klamath Falls


possibility of a establishing geothermal district heating system for downtown government buildings in January 1977. Since that time, the project has undergone some controversial and interesting developments that may be of educational value to other communities contemplating such a project. The purpose and content of this article is to identify the historical development of the project; including the design of the system, well owner objections to the project, aquifer testing, piping failure, and future expansion and marketing incentives. The shallow geothermal reservoir in Klamath falls extends for at least 6.8 miles in a northwest-southeast direction, as shown on Figure 1, with a width of about 2 miles. More than 550 thermal wells ranging in depth from about 10 to 2,000 ft, and obtaining or contacting water from 70 to 230oF, have been drilled into the reservoir. The system is not geologically homogeneous. Great variations in horizontal permeability and many vertical discontinuities exist because of stratigraphy and structure of the area. Basalt flows, eruptive centers, fluvial and lacustrine deposits, diatomite and pyroclastic materials alternate in the rock column. Normal faults with large throw (estimated up to 1,700 ft) are spaced less than 3,300 ft apart and appear to be the main avenue of vertical movement of hot fluids. In order to more effectively utilize this resource, the city of Klamath Falls decided in 1978 to apply for a federal grant (Program Opportunity Notice to cost share field experiment projects) to construct a geothermal district heating system that would deliver geothermal fluids to areas not located on the resource. In 1977, several Geo-Heat Center staff members visited Reykjavik, Iceland, to study the design of their geothermal district heating systems. This was in part the basis for the conceptual design and feasibility study (Lund, 1979) of a downtown commercial district. The main difference between the Icelandic systems and the Klamath Falls design was that the Icelanders used an open-type system delivering geothermal fluids directly to the customers; whereas, the Klamath Falls type

was a closed-system design employing a central heat exchanger.

Paul J. Lienau, Kevin Rafferty and P.E.

Geothermal Resources Council; .
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; 1991/12/01

Geothermal Resources Council, 1991

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Internet link for Geothermal District Heating System City of Klamath Falls

Paul J. Lienau, Kevin Rafferty, P.E.. 1991. Geothermal District Heating System City of Klamath Falls. Proceedings of Geothermal Resources Council; .: Geothermal Resources Council.