Clean Technology 2009

Expanding Worldwide Geothermal Power Production - The case for geothermal energy from sedimentary basins

R.J. Erdlac Jr.
Erdlac Energy Consulting, US

Keywords: geopressured, geothermal, Texas, sedimentary, basins, oil & gas wells


Geothermal electrical production has generally occurred in areas where heat energy is close to the earth’s surface (3280-6560 ft) (1-2 km). This means areas with active geologic processes that include hydrothermal and recent volcanic activity. Deeper wells are occasionally drilled (13,100 ft) (4 km), with this being the economic limit for geothermal power production. Sedimentary basins offer a new geograhical area for geothermal power production due to the deep drilling for oil and gas. Plugged and abandoned wells may be reentered for production of hot water left behind pipe. Planned oil and gas drilling can incorporate the potential for hot water production, thus improving the energy economics for deep drilling. The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast has been investigated for geopressured-geothermal energy, with the successful production of electrical power from a demonstration binary power plant. The deep Delaware-Val Verde Sub-Basins of the Permian Basin has also been investigated with over 5,000 wells represented in a temperature-depth database.
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