Full steam ahead on geothermal Utah

Raser Technologies Inc. marked the completion of a 10-megawatt geothermal power plant with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Beaver County facility located in Thermo. It is the first commercial-scale facility to utilize a new technology that allows the plant to generate electricity using geothermal heated water that is at a much lower temperature than was previously possible, said John Fox, general manager of UTC Power Corp.

The Thermo plant will generate enough electricity to power about 7,000 homes, he said.

UTC developed the technology that would work in conjunction with Raser’s modular power-plant design, he said. He added that the process used to generate power produces no emissions and can provide uninterrupted baseload power in the same fashion as coal or nuclear plants…He said the “closed-loop system” prohibits liquids and gases generated through the power production process from escaping into the environment. It also allows for the recycled use of those byproducts later on.

He said the site in Thermo is using an underground lake that is about the size of Utah Lake, with water at a temperature of approximately 300 degrees. Electricity is generated by 50 modular PureCycle power generation units, whose capacity can be expanded in the future.

Craig Higginson [from Raser] estimated that the Thermo site may contain enough geothermal resources to power a third of the homes in Utah with zero emissions when fully developed. He added that his company is in talks with several utilities, including Rocky Mountain Power, about possible geothermal plant development.

Great to see natural resources sensibly utilized. No earth-shaking technology breakthrough was required. Just sensible off-the-shelf components.

I’m especially impressed by Raser’s modular conception. Too often, folks in the utility business seem to design projects from the top-down. This system allows for easy scale.

One thought on “Full steam ahead on geothermal Utah

  1. moss says:

    Knew one of the coneheads (local term) working on related projects at Los Alamos. They dragged him away from it, oh, about 10 years ago. Said it would never be useful.

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