Geothermal Power Plants Unique Safety ChallengesSource: Emerson Process Management, Rosemount Analytical
Geothermal energy sources have many advantages. They are completely renewable, requiring only naturally present water and heat which is continuously generated from moderate volcanic activity from the earth’s core. There are very few, if any, by products from the resulting steam, so the process is truly a clean energy source and is of course completely domestically produced. With the cost to produce geothermal energy beginning to come in line with that of traditional power sources, more utilities as well as private enterprises are finding ways to take advantage of this unconventional resource.
Perhaps one of its few limitations is that the steam generated in many cases can not be used as the primary driver for turbines. It is simply not hot enough to flash on its own and water droplets can cause serious damage to the mechanical components of within the turbine. One method to resolve this is by using a binary cycle concept design that uses hot water from the geothermal sources and a fluid with a much lower boiling point than water which is heated by the geothermal source and then used to drive the turbine.