Future energy systems will face serious operational challenges with system reliability due to fluctuations caused by progressive integration of solar and wind power. Reliable and sustainable energy sources that can be utilized in large parts of Europe and that are able to balance these fluctuations are needed. Geothermal energy has the potential to become an excellent source for both base and flexible energy demands, providing much lower environmental footprint than both fossil and biomass fuels, as well as much less risks and societal resistance than nuclear power.
There are however some techno-economic challenges which needs to be addressed to facilitate highly flexible operation of geothermal power plants. In GeoSmart, we propose to 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, we also propose 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, we will demonstrate it in a medium/high (Turkey) and low (Belgium) temperature fields to show its potential benefits and applicability in different settings.
In this project, FlowPhys performed 3D LES (CFD) combined with shape optimization to optimize a geothermal heat exchanger. Initial steps for developing combined 3D LES with geothermal thermodynamics and reaction kinetics with the purpose of minimize the scale reduction rate in a geothermal heat exchanger and maximize scale reduction in a retention tank will be taken. The FlowPhys 1D flow assurance pipe network simulator is used to simulate the geothermal power plants and wells in Balmatt and Kilzidare fields.
Go to project website: http://geosmartproject.eu/