By Randy Carroll-Bradd
Hydrocarbon wells can generate electricity. Using the waste fluids from hydrocarbon wells, owners can now generate electricity for their pumping needs, with any additional electricity sold to utilities as renewable energy. A small binary electric turbine (250 kW+) is attached between the separation stage and re-injection well. This can be done on one well or multiple wells with temperatures over 225°F and 200+ gpm of combined fluid. Thus waste fluids become a valuable commodity! The amount of electricity is dependent on input and cooling temperatures and fluid flow rate.
Top Advantages for the Oil & Gas lndustry:
1) In Texas there is now an exemption from oil and gas Severance Taxes for oil and gas co-produced with geothermal energy.
2) Geothermal energy recovery should cover electrical pumping needs and may generate extra energy to sell to utilities;
3) The technology is grounded in practices of the hydrocarbon industry;
4) The infrastructure already exists, i.e., roads, power lines, etc;
5) Geothermal power production can use existing reservoirs or modify them after production ends to increase the available water;
6) Costs are lower than start-from-scratch geothermal development, with estimated payouts possible in 3 - 5 years;
7) Power plants are scaleable with moveable turbines to meet the changing needs of an oil/gas field, plus as systems develop the technology continues to evolve;
8) Renewable Energy Credits (RECS) are an additional commodity that the Hydrocarbon lndustry can use or sell .... It’s GREEN POWER!
9) Pricing of geothermal leases is lower than oil/gas leases;
10) The global Geothermal lndustry has 40+ years of experience in dealing with high temperature drops and geochemistry;
11) Government grants and loans may be available to develop new systems for demonstration sites.
Current prices and tax incentives for electricity produced renewably
$0.021/KWh U.S. tax credit
Thus revenue from a binary turbine installed to produce 225 kWh/yr is approximately $200,000 and 500 kWh/y generates approximately $368,000 in revenue.
Approximate estimated installation costs $500,000 - $1,500,000 for 250 to 500 kW plant.
Thanks to Randy Carroll-Bradd for permission to publish this article which was distributed to attendees at the October 27, 2010 meeting of the Texas Green Network. Randy is a sometimes attendee at San Antonio Sustainable Living meetings and an expert in the manufacture of SIPS panels with EH Systems LLC.