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Hybrid Solar-Geothermal Power Generation to Increase the Energy Production From a Binary Geothermal Plant

[+] Author Affiliations
Giovanni Manente

University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Randall Field, Ronald DiPippo, Jefferson W. Tester

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Marco Paci, Nicola Rossi

ENEL, Pisa, Italy

Paper No. IMECE2011-63665, pp. 109-119; 11 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 4: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; Combustion Science and Engineering; Nanoengineering for Energy, Parts A and B
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5490-7
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


This article examines how hybridization using solar thermal energy can increase the power output of a geothermal binary power plant that is operating on geothermal fluid conditions that fall short of design values in temperature and flow rate. The power cycle consists of a subcritical organic Rankine cycle using industrial grade isobutane as the working fluid. Each of the power plant units includes two expanders, a vaporizer, a preheater and air-cooled condensers. Aspen Plus was used to model the plant; the model was validated and adjusted by comparing its predictions to data collected during the first year of operation. The model was then run to determine the best strategy for distributing the available geothermal fluid between the two units to optimize the plant for the existing degraded geofluid conditions. Two solar-geothermal hybrid designs were evaluated to assess their ability to increase the power output and the annual energy production relative to the geothermal-only case.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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