Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA), the U.S. Department of Energy and GeothermEx successfully produced 1.7 additional megawatts from an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) project inside an existing wellfield in the U.S. This is the first EGS project to be connected to the electricity grid. Using innovative subsurface technologies, research and development teams stimulated an existing sub-commercial injection well resulting in a 38 percent increase in power output from brine at Ormat’s Desert Peak 2 geothermal power plant in the Brady complex, Churchill County, Nev.
Support for the project included $5.4 million in direct DOE funding, $2.6 in million investment from Ormat, and more than four years of collaborative work with partners including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey, Sandia National Laboratory, University of Utah EGI, Temple University and TerraTek.
By expanding existing hydrothermal fractures deep within the Earth’s crust, EGS technology enhances the permeability of underperforming wells, making it possible to extract additional heat from a reservoir’s rocks and inject geothermal fluid at higher flow rates. Ormat’s air-cooled power plants are the technology of choice for EGS developments, as they don’t consume water in the conversion of energy into electricity; all the geothermal fluid is re-injected, to be produced again after heating in the reservoir.
“This research and development project was conducted under a stringent induced seismicity protocol developed by LBNL and the Department of Energy. We achieved an increased injection rate up to 1,600 gallons per minute without consuming or discharging water at the surface and using only existing geothermal brine returned to the original aquifer,” explained Lucien Bronicki, founder and chief technology officer for Ormat. “Our objective in the Desert Peak EGS project was to demonstrate that this technology can have a significant impact on sub-commercial wells. This could enable us to use unproductive wells to generate more power and new revenue.”
“DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office is changing geothermal development in the U.S.,” Bronicki added.
With over four decades of experience, Ormat Technologies, Inc. is a leading geothermal company and the only vertically integrated company solely engaged in geothermal and recovered energy generation (REG). The company owns, operates, designs, manufactures and sells geothermal and REG power plants primarily based on the Ormat Energy Converter – a power generation unit that converts low-, medium- and high-temperature heat into electricity. With over 82 U.S. patents, Ormat’s power solutions have been refined and perfected under the most grueling environmental conditions. Ormat’s flexible, modular solutions for geothermal power and REG are ideal for the vast range of resource characteristics. The company has engineered and built power plants, which it currently owns or has supplied to utilities and developers worldwide, totaling approximately 1600 MW of gross capacity. Ormat’s current generating portfolio of 575 MW (net) includes Brady, Brawley, Heber, Jersey Valley, Mammoth, McGinness Hills, Ormesa, Puna, Steamboat, Tuscarora, OREG 1, OREG 2, OREG 3 and OREG 4 in the U.S.; Zunil and Amatitlan in Guatemala; Olkaria III in Kenya; and, Momotombo in Nicaragua.
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