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Economic Analysis of a Zero-Mass Withdrawal Geothermal Energy System

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A zero-mass withdrawal geothermal system is a proposed system that generates electricity via a downhole micro turbine driven by an Organic Rankine Cycle. The proposed method couples forced convection through long horizontal wellbores with free convection arising from natural geothermal gradients. The proposed method has some advantages over traditional geothermal systems as engineered convection is expected to improve thermal recovery effi ciency and no wellbore stimulation or geofl uid disposal would be required, but these advantages come with additional costs and risk. Capital expenditures associated with a zero-mass withdrawal system for deployment in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region from 2015–2020 are estimated to range from 26,000 to 86,000 $/kW, which are at least an order-of-magnitude greater than the capital costs of traditional geothermal systems. The levelized costs of electricity are expected to range from 24 to 78 ¢/kWh with an expected value of 62 ¢/kWh.
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Keywords: ECONOMIC EVALUATION; LEVELIZED COST OF ELECTRICITY; ZERO-MASS WITHDRAWAL SYSTEM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2016-02-01

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