Thermodynamic analysis of a 17.5 MW geothermal power plant operating with binary Organic Rankine Cycle

  • 1 University of Rijeka, Faculty of Engineering, Rijeka, Croatia


This article presents the thermodynamic analysis of a 17.5 MW gross electric geothermal power plant based on binary cycle technology with isobutane. The geothermal power plant comprises two separate closed loops: the geothermal fluid flows in one loop and the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) fluid flows in the second loop. The geothermal fluid is extracted from a depth of 2500-3000 m with a temperature of 170 °C and a pressure of 25 bar. Two production wells supply geothermal fluid (brine and steam) with a high fraction of noncondensable gases (NCG). A separator extracts NCG from the geothermal fluid. Isobutane is preheated and evaporated before entering the ORC turbine with a temperature of 133 °C and a pressure of 28 bar, where expands to the condenser pressure of 4 bar. Electricity is generated by a 17.5 MW axial ORC turbine and additionally by a 1.5 MW NCG turbine. The analysis revealed that the configuration without NCG turbine achieves a net efficiency of 12.73% and a net electric power of 13.68 MW while the configuration with NCG turbine achieves a net efficiency of 14.04% and a net electric power of 15.16 MW but with much higher CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.



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