PwrCor, an advanced technology company focusing on clean, renewable energy solutions for the Waste-Heat-to-Power, Geothermal, and Solar Thermal markets announced that SMU Geothermal Laboratories has completed a significant industry research project that was instrumental in assessing the potential of PwrCor’s proprietary technology to generate electricity from wasted ultra-low-grade heat (150°F to 250°F) discarded by existing geothermal power facilities.


Image: PwrCor collaborates with SMU Geothermal. Photo: Image by rawpixel from Pixabay.

Geothermal production facilities typically return large quantities of ultra-low-grade heat, in the form of spent hot water, into injection wells after the higher heat is used in electricity production. This spent hot water represents fuel to PwrCor’s heat-to-power conversion technology that currently operates within a hot input temperature range between 150° and 250° F. This application of PwrCor technology is commonly referred to as a bottoming cycle and represents a simple, low risk, and low cost point of entry to the geothermal market. PwrCor technology is also uniquely applicable to several other geothermal applications including abandoned geothermal wells, hot springs, new low temperature geothermal plants, as well as existing and abandoned oil and gas wells which typically abound with geothermal energy.

SMU’s research team compiled available information such as ambient air temperature, injection temperature, and injection flow rate to quantify the total thermal energy within the spent geothermal fluids already being produced, but not utilized, by 31 of 73 U.S. based geothermal sites for which data were available. These 31 sites represent approximately 2,900 MWe or 78% of U.S. currently installed geothermal electricity capacity.  New calculations indicate an additional 427 MWe, or approximately 15%, can be derived from the spent geothermal fluids utilizing the PwrCor bottoming cycle technology. An additional 100 MWe of output can be conservatively imputed from the remaining installed capacity for which there was insufficient available data.

According to a recently published DOE report, as of 2018, geothermal power plants were concentrated in the western United States with the majority located in California and Nevada. Although geothermal energy accounts for only 0.4% of total electricity generation nationwide, it provides 6% of total generation in California and 8% in Nevada. The state of California alone has more installed geothermal capacity than any country in the world. The DOE report summarizes findings showing that geothermal electricity generation could increase more than 26-fold from today – reaching 60 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity by 2050 – just from known available resources.

Utilities are struggling to increase their electricity production from “green” energy sources, with extremely challenging goals being set by regulators and legislatures around the country, while at the same time confronted with the irregular production from the sun and wind. Management believes its PwrCor technology is uniquely positioned to transform ultra-low-grade geothermal heat into useful electricity, thereby contributing a major solution source to this challenge.

Maria Richards, Geothermal Lab Coordinator for the Geothermal Laboratory at Southern Methodist University, a research facility devoted to broadening the understanding and use of geothermal energy, stated, “Geothermal energy is the work-horse of green power production.  Unlike various others, it operates 24/7, is suitable for baseload power supply, occupies a small footprint, and is designed to last. PwrCor is working to improve the efficiency of our geothermal power infrastructure, and we commend their efforts.”

Joe Batir, Ph.D., Research Geologist for the Geothermal Laboratory at Southern Methodist University, stated, “There is a great deal of heat being underutilized in geothermal power generating facilities around the United States.  Technology that can convert even a small portion of this underutilized heat into additional power has the potential of bringing major benefits to both geothermal power producers and to the environment.”

As Halley Dickey, President of Energy Systems Development Group, a privately-held experienced renewable energy and power project development and operator company, noted, “By converting a portion of the heat currently discarded by active geothermal and power facilities, or left unused by inactive wells, PwrCor technology can bring a green solution to bear.  This is a technology the world needs, and something that interests us significantly.”

Tom Telegades, CEO of PwrCor, stated, “PwrCor’s technology seeks to change the energy profile of entire industries.”

PwrCor’s technology delivers the ability to reduce the overall cost of energy for power users.  Low-grade and ultra-low-grade heat, which up until now could only be discarded and wasted, can be cost-effectively utilized to generate electrical power, providing cost savings and improving bottom line performance.

PwrCor is currently engaged with leading companies in such industries as fuel cells and reciprocating engines, and on additional project initiatives in geothermal, oil and gas, solar thermal, and data centers, all of which have enormous amounts of wasted ultra-low-grade heat that can now be converted to additional power, contributing to higher profits.  Our technology cost-effectively converts heat to mechanical power or electricity, and represents a breakthrough for those businesses which can now profit from converting wasted heat into electrical power.

Source: Company Press Release