Sei sulla pagina 1di 12

Geo Thermal Energy




Contact no: 0863223664


In today’s world the energy needs have been growing at an

alarming rate. Its an indigestable fact that fossil fuels which meet the
present energy needs cannot serve the purpose in near future. Thus,
alternative sources of energy are looked for. Among different options
available Geo Thermal Energy has proven to be one of the best because
with escalating environmental problems with coal based projects, India
has to depend on clean, cheap, rural based and eco-friendly geothermal
power in future. With the existing open economic policies of the Govt.,
and large incentives given to non-conventional energy sectors, the future
of geothermal energy sector in India appears to be bright.

This paper explicitly presents resources of Geo thermal energy-

hydrothermal, geopressured, hot dry rock, magma and utilization of Geo
thermal energy for power generation, benefits and ecological effects of
geo thermal power generation. This paper also includes major geo thermal
provinces in INDIA.

There are four types of geothermal resources: hydrothermal,

geopressured hot dry rock and magma. Of the four types, only
hydrothermal resources are currently commercially exploited. And in this
paper we are going to discuss about the Hydrothermal.

Geothermal energy is heat energy originating deep in the earth’s

molten interior. It is this heat energy which is responsible for tectonic
plates, volcanoes and earthquakes. The temperature in the earth’s interior
is as high as 7000° C, decreasing to 650 - 1200°C at depths of 80km-
100km.Through the deep circulation of ground water and the intrusion of
molten magma into the earth’s crust to depths of only 1km-5km, heat is
brought closer to the earth’s surface. The hot molten rock heats the
surrounding groundwater, which is forced to the surface in certain areas in
the form of hot steam or water, e.g. Hot Springs and geysers. The heat
energy close to or at, the earth’s surface can be utilized as a source of
energy, namely geothermal energy.

The total geothermal resource is vast. An estimated 100PWh (1 x 10

W) of heat energy is brought to the earth’s surface each year. However,
geothermal energy can only be utilized in regions where it is suitably
concentrated. These regions correspond to areas of earthquake and
volcanic activity.

Hydrothermal, or hot water, resources arise, when hot water and/or
steam is formed in fractured or porous rock at shallow to moderate depths
(100m to 4.5km) as a result of either the intrusion in the earth’s crust of
molten magma from the earth’s interior, or the deep circulation of water
through a fault or fracture . High temperature hydrothermal resources,
with temperatures from 180°C to over 350°C, are usually heated by hot
molten rock. While low temperature resources, with temperatures from
100° C to 180°C, can be produced by either process. Hydrothermal
resources come in the form of either steam or hot water depending on the
temperatures and pressures involved. High grade resources are usually
used for electricity generation, while low grade resources are used in
direct heating applications.

Fig (a): Simplified cross-section of the essential characteristics of a



High temperature geothermal resources can be used for electricity

production. There is currently over 8GW of installed geothermal electricity
generation capacity worldwide. There are a number of energy conversion
technologies, which use the geothermal resource. These include dry
steam, flash steam and binary cycle systems. Geothermal electricity can
be used for base load power, as well as for peak load demand as required.
In many parts of world, geothermal electricity is competitive with
conventional energy sources.


The dry steam power plant is suitable where the geothermal steam is not
mixed with water. Production wells are drilled down to the aquifer and the
superheated, pressurized steam (180°C-350°C) is brought to the surface
at high speeds, and passed through a steam turbine to generate
electricity. In simple power plants, the low-pressure steam output from
the turbine is vented to the atmosphere, but more commonly, the steam
is passed through a condenser to convert it to water. This improves the
efficiency of the turbine and avoids the environmental problems
associated with the direct release of steam into the atmosphere. The
wastewater is then re-injected into the field via re-injection wells as in fig

The waste heat is vented through cooling towers in common with

conventional fossil fuel plants. In common also with conventional power
stations, the energy conversion efficiencies are low, around 30%. The
efficiency and economics of dry steam plants are affected by the presence
of non-condensable gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide.
The pressure of these gases reduces the efficiency of the turbines, and in
addition, the removal of the gases on environmental grounds adds to the
cost of operation. The United States and Italy have the largest dry steam
geothermal resources, but these resources are also found in Indonesia,

Fig (b): Schematic diagram of a dry steam power plan


Single flash steam technology is used where the hydrothermal

resource is in a liquid form. The fluid is sprayed into a flash tank, which is
held at a much lower pressure than the fluid, causing it to vaporize (or
flash) rapidly to steam. The steam is then passed through a turbine
coupled to a generator as for dry steam plants. To prevent the
geothermal fluid flashing inside the well, the well is kept under high

Fig (c): single flash steam power plant.

The majority of the geothermal fluid does not flash, and this fluid is
re-injected into the reservoir or used in a local direct heat application.
Alternatively, if the fluid remaining in the tank has a sufficiently high
temperature, it can be passed into a second tank, where a pressure drop
induces further flashing to steam. This steam, together with the exhaust
from the principal turbine, is used to drive a second turbine or the second
stage of the principal turbine to generate additional electricity.

Binary cycle power plants are used where the geothermal resource is
insufficiently hot to efficiently produce steam, or where the resource
contains too many chemical impurities to allow flashing. In addition, the
fluid remaining in the tank of flash steam plants can be utilized in binary
cycle plants (e.g. Kawerau, New Zealand). In the binary cycle process, the
geothermal fluid is passed through a heat exchanger. The secondary fluid,
which has a lower boiling point than water (e.g. isobutane or pentane), is
vaporized, and expanded through a turbine to generate electricityThe unit
sizes are typically in the range of 1MW to 3MW, and these are used in a
modular arrangement

Fig (d): Binary Cycle Power Plant


1. Geothermal energy is an abundant, secure, and, if properly utilized, a

renewable source of energy.

2. Geothermal technologies, using modern emission controls, have

minimal environmental impact.

3. Geothermal power generation technologies are modular in design and

highly flexible The output of a geothermal plant can be expanded as
required, avoiding the need for a high initial capital outlay. The plants
have short lead times of 1 to 2 years.
4. Geothermal power stations have a very low land area requirement.

5. Emission Rates: The emission rate of Geo Thermal Power Plant in

comparison with conventional power plants is as shown in Fig .


Since geothermal is often a replacement for diesel or other fossil

fuels, it has great benefits for people’s health through improved air
quality. There are atmospheric emissions from geothermal plants, which
are predominantly CO2, and H2S.However, in the context of global
climate change, geothermal has significantly lower CO2 emissions than
fossil fuels. The common practice of re-injecting spent geothermal fluids
means the impacts on aquatic life have been eliminated. Geothermal
plants also co-exist successfully with other land uses. Adverse
environmental impacts of geothermal development may include land
subsidence and increased micro seismic activity. However such adverse
factors need to be balanced against the more obvious advantages of
geothermal over fossil fuels.

Power generating capacity of Indian geothermal


India has 400 medium to high enthalpy geothermal springs, clustered

in seven provinces shown in the Indian map. The most promising
provinces are i) The Himalayan ii) Sohana iii) Cambay iv) Son-
Narmada-Tapi (Sonata) v) The Godavari. With the recent volcanic
eruption, the Barren Island, a part of the Andaman-Nicobar chain of
islands, is added to the above list. Most of them are liquid dominated
systems with one or two having both liquid and gas dominated systems.
Some of the Geo Thermal Provinces in India are shown in the Fig (f).

The Himalayan Province:

This is one of the most promising provinces in the coldest part of the
country and contains about 100 thermal springs with surface
temperatures as high as 90o C discharging > than 190 tones /h of thermal
water. This province falls in one of the most tectonically active zones- the
Indo-Eurasian plate boundary, which experiences a large number of
earthquakes. Post-Tertiary granite intrusive is responsible for the high
temperature gradient (> 100o C/km) and heat flow (> 468 mW/m2)
recorded in the 500 m drill-hole in this province. The first and the last
pilot binary 5 kW power plant using R 113 binary fluid was successfully
operated by the Geological Survey of India at Manikaran which proved the
power producing capability of this province. Presence of epidote in drill-
cuttings recovered from 500m drill-holes support estimated reservoir
temperature of 260o C.

Bakreswar province:

The Bakreswar-Tantloi thermal province falls in Bengal and Bihar districts

and marks the junction between SONATA and Singbhum shear zone (Fig.
f). High He gas is encountered in all the thermal discharges (water and
gases) and it is proposed to install a pilot plant to recover He from the
thermal manifestation of this region. The He discharge is 4 l//h.

The Barren island:

The Barren island forms a part of the Andaman - Nicobar island chain
in the Bay of Bengal and is located 116 km ENE of Port Blair. Recent
volcanic activity was recorded in 1991, which resulted in the appearance
of high temperature steaming ground and thermal discharges. Thus, it is
apparent that, with the available technology all the above thermal
provinces can be exploited for power generation as well for direct
use.Table summarizes the temperatures, heat flow values and geothermal
gradients of the provinces discussed above. Table: Potential
Geothermal provinces of India

Province Surface To C Reservoir To C Heat Flow Thermal gradient


Himalaya >90 260 468 100

Cambay 40-90 150-175 80-93 70

West coast 46-72 102-137 75-129 47-59

SONATA 60 - 95 105-217 120-290 60-90

Godavari 50-60 175-215 93-104 60

Heat flow: mW/m2; Thermal gradient: o


Fig f:Geothermal provinces in India



Geothermal energy represents a potentially huge source of reliable

heat and electricity. The technology exists to exploit this resource in an
environmentally acceptable manner, although only a few sites are cost
effective at the present time. The best geothermal resources are not
evenly distributed around the world; but more costly sources of
geothermal energy such as HDR are widely available. The amount of
geothermal energy utilized in the future will depend upon the cost and
environmental concerns associated with traditional sources of energy,
rather than the limits of the geothermal resource. As supplies of fossil
fuels dwindle, or the impacts of global warming and acid rain become
more severe, geothermal energy will become an attractive option for
supplying heat and electricity in the future.

1. Wright, P.M. 1998, "The earth gives up its heat", Renewable Energy
World, vol.1, no.3, pp.21-25.

2. World Energy Council 1994, New renewable energy resources, Kogan

Page, London.

3. Brown, G. 1996, "Geothermal energy", in Renewable energy- power for

a sustainable future, ed. G. Boyle, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

4. Geothermal Education Office 1997, "Geothermal energy worldwide"

(Online),Hinrichs, R.A. 1996, Energy, its use and the environment, 2nd
edn, Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth.