Tailored Working Fluids for Enhanced Binary Geothermal Power Plants Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Tailored Working Fluids for Enhanced Binary Geothermal Power Plants
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Component Research and Development/Analysis
Project Type / Topic 2 Working Fluids for Binary Power Plants
Project Description By implementing the proposed technologies, the overall energy conversion of binary geothermal power plants is projected to increase by at least 40%. If this technology were deployed commercially in 30% of the expected 100 GW growth of new US capacity by 2050 [1], the capacity would increase to 112 GW representing a 350-day, 24-hour output gain of 101 TW-hrs.
State Connecticut
Objectives Improve the utilization of available energy in geothermal resources and increase the energy conversion efficiency of systems employed by:

- Tailoring the subcritical and/or supercritical glide of enhanced working fluids to best match thermal resources. - Identifying appropriate thermal system and component designs for the down-selected working fluids.

Awardees (Company / Institution) United Technologies Research Center
Awardee Website http://www.utrc.utc.com/pages/our_company.html
Partner 1 Georgia Institute of Technology
Partner 2 National Institute of Standards and Technology

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000075
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $1,823,969.00
Awardee Cost Share $455,992.00
Total Project Cost $2,279,961.00

Principal Investigator(s) Ahmad Mahmoud

Targets / Milestones United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) shall lead a team consisting of UTRC, the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST will utilize its world class experimental and analytical capabilities to characterize the thermophysical properties of down-selected working fluids and to develop validated Equations of State. GT will conduct heat transfer and pressure drop experiments to evaluate the performance of and develop correlations for down-selected working fluids. UTRC will capitalize on the capabilities of this team to implement a multi-faceted approach with feedback between the cycle analysis, system and component design, fluid optimization, and thermophysical property portions of the proposed project.

The deliverables of the program are:

- A comprehensive analytical study detailing the screening, evaluation, and down-selection of working fluids and identifying the appropriate technology advancements in subcritical, supercritical, and trilateral cycles - Improved heat exchanger and turbine designs for down-selected working fluids - Validated thermophysical models and experimental data for down-selected working fluids - Heat transfer and pressure drop data and validated correlations for down-selected working fluids over a representative operational envelope, plus an analytical study of and recommendations for the mitigation of heat transfer degradation - Definition and proof-of-concept demonstration of a two-phase expander

Location of Project East Hartford, CT

Impacts If successful, these technologies could increase the overall energy conversion of binary geothermal power plants by 40%.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs