Geothermal Well Productivity: Why Hotter is Not Always Better

Basic Information
Author: Butler, S.J., Morrow, J.W., Sanyal, S.K.
Description:This paper investigates the practical range of net power capacity available from conventional and Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) wells as a function of temperature. For a geothermal resource temperature up to about 190C, which is the operating temperature limit of presently available down hole pumps, wells are typically pumped and power is usually generated in a binary cycle plant, and in rare cases in a flash cycle or hybrid cycle plant. In this temperature range under the current state of down hole pump technology, the net MW capacity of a well has a practical upper limit of about 7.3 MW, irrespective of how high the wells productivity index is. This capacity limit cannot be improved unless technology can be improved to allow pumping at a higher rate than the present practical limit of about 160 ls (2,500 gallons per minute) improving the temperature tolerance of pumps, by itself, will not increase this capacity limit. For resource temperatures greater than 190C, wells must be self flowed, and power is generated from such wells in a flash cycle or hybrid cycle plant.
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Organization Name: Arizona Geological Survey
Street: 416 W. Congress St., Suite 100
City: Tucson
State: AZ
Zip: 85701
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