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AAPG Pacific Section and Rocky Mountain Section Joint Meeting

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The UND-CLR binary geothermal power plant


The UND-CLR binary geothermal power plant generates 250 kW of electricity using hot water produced in a secondary recovery project in the Williston Basin. The binary power plant consists of two high-efficiency, 125 kW organic Rankine cycle (ORC) engines manufactured by Access Energy LLC. The water supply for the secondary recovery project is from two open-hole horizontal wells drilled into the Lodgepole Formation (Miss.). The vertical depths are 2,300 m and 2,400 m and the lateral lengths are 1,290 m and 860 m. Produced water temperature is 103 °C at the well head and 98 °C at the inlets to the ORCs. The water supply lines to the ORCs are approximately 400 m from the wells and are uninsulated pipes buried below the frost line. The hydrostatic head for the Lodgepole Fm. is at ground surface and the pumps are set at 650 m depth. The combined flow supplied from the wells is 51 l s-1 and has been continuous since 2009. Power from the binary power plant is used by Continental Resources on site and reduces their electrical load costs. Additionally, Continental Resources has been cooling the water prior to injection with two air-cooled heat exchangers for protection of their injection hardware. The pre-cooling achieved by the ORCs will permit taking the air-cooling systems off line, thus reducing electricity demand at the site. This successful demonstration of electrical power production using existing oil field infrastructure coupled with ORC engines has significant implications for controlling electrical power costs in oil and gas operations. A UND web page with weekly updates on statistical data from the power plant can be found at: http://engineering.und.edu/geology-and-geological-engineering/research/