Performance Analysis of a Hybrid Solar-Geothermal Power Plant in Northern Chile

Ignacio Mir, Rodrigo Escobar, Julio Vergara, Julio Bertrand
2011 Proceedings of the World Renewable Energy Congress – Sweden, 8–13 May, 2011, Linköping, Sweden   unpublished
Chile has introduced sustainability goals in its electricity law in response to increased environmental awareness and the need to achieve higher levels of energy security. In northern Chile, the Atacama Desert has a large available surface with high radiation level, while the tectonic activity along the entire country testifies an ample yet unexploited geothermal resource. The novel concept of hybridizing a geothermal power plant with solar energy assistance is presented here for the particular
more » ... conditions of Northern Chile. A thermodynamic model is developed to estimate the energy production in a hybrid power plant for two different configurations of solar resource use: adding peak power for a constant geothermal output, and saving geothermal resources for a constant power output. The thermodynamic model considers a single-flash geothermal plant with the addition of solar heat from a parabolic trough field. The solar heat is used to produce superheated steam and to produce additional saturated steam from the separator whenever possible. Results indicate that the energy produced by a geothermal well can be increased up to 11.6% and achieve savings of up to 10.3% in the use of geothermal resources by adding solar assistance when using the single flash geothermal technology. Moreover, the optimal mass flow rate of the geothermal plant is decreased when adding solar assistance. It is recommended to exploit solar energy together with geothermal energy wherever possible, to take advantage of each other's strengths and mutually eliminate weaknesses.
doi:10.3384/ecp110571281 fatcat:4xuijovsgvawdc3epkixhsjxxq