Technologies for geothermal to enhance competitiveness in smart and flexible operation

Solutions developed

GeoSmart will combine thermal energy storages with flexible ORC solutions to provide a highly flexible operational capability of a geothermal installation. During periods with low demand, energy will be stored in the storage to be released at a later stage when the demand is higher. As this approach does not influence the flow condition at the wellhead, critical infrastructures will be unaffected under variable energy generation. To improve efficiency, GeoSmart proposes a hybrid cooling system for the ORC plant to prevent efficiency degradation due to seasonal variations. Efficiency will be further improved by larger power plant heat extraction enabled due to a scaling reduction system consisting of specially design retention tank, heat exchanger, and recombining with extracted gases. The scaling reduction system has the potential to almost double power production of many medium enthalpy geothermal plants. Overall, GeoSmart technologies will drastically reduce geothermal energy costs, making it cost competitive with its fossil fuel-based counterparts. To bring GeoSmart technology to TRL7/8, demonstration will be conducted in a medium/high (Turkey) and low (Belgium) temperature fields to show its potential benefits and applicability in different settings.

Main results

Renewables like the Sun and wind increase the uncertainty and variability in energy generation and delivery to consumers. Geothermal plants can help balance fluctuations by operating in a more flexible mode to respond to sudden changes in energy use. GeoSmart project is working on methods to store heat energy when demand is low so that it can be released when demand is high. The project also plans to create a hybrid cooling system for the organic Rankine cycle plant that will prevent efficiency degradation due to seasonal changes. Overall, GeoSmart technologies will allow geothermal plants to cost-effectively respond to different heat and power demands.