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Advantage of incorporating geothermal energy into power-station cycles

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1 Author(s)
White, A.A.L. ; Central Electricity Generating Board, Marchwood Engineering Laboratories, Southampton, UK

The generation of electricity from low-temperature geothermal sources has been hampered by the low conversion efficiencies of Rankine cycle operating below 150¿¿C. In the paper, the author shows how the electrical output derived from a geothermal borehole may be substantially improved on that expected from these cycles by incorporating the geothermal heat into a conventional steam-cycle power station to provide feedwater heating. This technique can yield thermal conversion efficiencies of 11% which, for a well-head temperature of 100¿¿C, is 50% greater than the output expected from a Rankine cycle. Coupled with the smaller capital costs involved, feedwater heating is thus a more attractive technique of converting heat into electricity. Although power stations above suitable geothermal resources would, ideally, have the geothermal heat incorporated from the design stage, experiments at Marchwood Power Station have shown that small existing sets can be modified to accept geothermal feedwater heating.

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Physical Science, Measurement and Instrumentation, Management and Education - Reviews, IEE Proceedings A  (Volume:127 ,  Issue: 5 )