Evolution Overview

The evolution of the three HDR technology vintages is discussed below. The evolution of the technology between these stages and the uncertainty involved is evident in Table 1 and accompanying discussion in Section 4.2.

Current Technology: The Current Technology system is defined as the reservoir and power plant syste m that could have been built in the period 1996-1997. This relies heavily on the experience which the U.S . Department of Energy gained creating and testing the Phase I & II HDR reservoirs at Fenton Hill, NM . However, it is based on a triplet well configuration (two production wells and one injection well), compared to the doublet (one production well and one injection well) configuration at Fenton Hill. It also assumes that the HDR reservoir could be expanded to about six times the size of the current Fenton Hill reservoir and the heat could be swept from the reservoir by a single well triplet.

Second Generation Technology: The Second Generation Technology is similar to Current Technology i n that it is a small plant utilizing a single triplet of wells. It assumes: (a) improvements of conversion (power plant) technology (which are expected to arise from R&D and demonstrations outside of the HDR Research Program), (b) that the HDR wells and fractures can be made considerably less expensive than currently , (c) that the reservoir volume can be expanded to about 1.3 times that assumed in the Base Case, and (d) that improved techniques for creating the reservoir result in a triplet flow rate 1.3 times that of the base case. It is estimated that the earliest such systems could be commercially available would be about 2015. Thi s estimate is based largely on the assumption that the European HDR research program will be successful i n its plan to complete a Scientific Pilot Plant by the year 2000 and an Industrial Prototype plant by the yea r 2002 [8]. After Second Generation Technology becomes available in 2015, it will be applied with multiple well triplets in the year 2020.

Mature Technology: This system is defined as that for which further improvements would have onl y insignificant impacts on the cost of power. It consists of a larger plant with 4 triplets of wells. It assumes: (a) improvements in well drilling and completion technology radical enough to reduce the cost of the HD R wells to 50 percent of their cost in the Base Case, (b) some additional incremental modest improvements in other aspects of the technology, (c) experiential improvements gained from 15 to 20 years of operations a t 15 to 20 commercial HDR plants, and (d) a cost reduction compared to the Current Technology due to economies of scale achieved with a larger plant and 4 well triplets. It is estimated that the earliest this system could be achieved would be in about 30 to 50 years.

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