Multiple Integrated Applications For Low-To Medium-Temperature Geothermal Resources In Iceland

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Journal Article: Multiple Integrated Applications For Low-To Medium-Temperature Geothermal Resources In Iceland

There is an increasing global demand for a faster, more expansive development in the energy sector, in order to improve the standard of living of the world's population by the creation of more jobs and better living conditions. The public is, however, well aware of the damage that has been done to the environment, in the form of deforestation, despoiling of lakes and rivers and, in particular, greenhouse effects, and it is unwilling to further sacrifice its natural environment. This decision puts pressure on scientists, engineers and developers to find ways and means of attaining "sustainable energy development". In other words, the challenge now is to achieve the sustainable development of alternative renewable energy resources. Sustainability may be achieved in a number of ways, but the one most likely to result in a rapid increase in energy output without a deleterious impact on the environment is the revamping and integration of what we already have. This paper attempts to address sustainability as it applies to geothermal energy. We describe the concept of a multiple integrated use of geothermal energy, including the tenable benefits that can be obtained from applying this concept, such as a longer reservoir lifespan, a lower specific environmental impact, and greater marketing flexibility and profitability. The paper also emphasises the importance of achieving a maximum effective temperature drop across the application, commensurate with a minimum flow rate, optimal pumping characteristics and minimal fluid extraction from the geothermal reservoir. In geothermal house heating systems this means using large and effective radiators, dual-pipe heating systems, and thermostatic controls on each radiator. Where modifications to existing house heating systems are not feasible, e.g. by conversion from a single-pipe to a dual-pipe system or installation of larger radiators, an alternative solution is to adopt a cascaded flow of the geothermal fluid through a combination of heating systems operating at different temperature levels. For economic reasons it is always better to use the geothermal water directly if its chemical quality permits us to do so, otherwise heat exchangers made of resistant materials will be needed to isolate the geothermal fluid from the heating fluid in order to avoid corrosion or scaling in the pipes and radiators. The heat exchangers should be designed in such a way as to obtain a maximum temperature drop of the geothermal fluid. The paper also describes some heating system configurations, the characteristics of geothermal heating systems and their automatic control systems, as well as recommended geothermal field management and monitoring systems. The paper also includes a few examples of existing projects to demonstrate what has already been achieved and what could be done in the future; some suggestions are also made for new developments and innovations to make geothermal energy more generally attractive and useful worldwide.

Einar Tjorvi ElIasson and Oddur B. Bjornsson

Published Journal 
Geothermics, Date Not Provided

Not Provided
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Einar Tjorvi ElIasson,Oddur B. Bjornsson. . Multiple Integrated Applications For Low-To Medium-Temperature Geothermal Resources In Iceland. Geothermics. (!) .