Monday, August 14, 2017

Mexico: Grupo Enal Develops a 500 kW Geothermal Portable Power Plant

Geothermal to go! ( Renewable Energy Mexico)

Enal’s 500 kW Portable Power Plant
When we think about geothermal energy, we may imagine big, steamy and noisy plants that expand throughout several hectares. Indeed, geothermal plants are projects like this, which also need big investments and time to be developed.

High costs are involved in geothermal, says Gerardo Hiriart, Director General of Grupo Enal, “a 100 MW [geothermal] project can cost up to US$300 million. Of that price, almost half is for the central power producing unit, 40 percent for the development of the wells, 5 percent for the exploration phase and 5 percent for engineering and management.”

Geothermal projects can take several years to be constructed, and during those years developers need to keep injecting capital for their development. Meanwhile, the geothermal energy that could be used sits just there, unproductive. But this does not have to always be the case.

Grupo Enal has just recently developed a portable and easy to install distributed generation plant that can be fitted in exploratory wells to start production before the main geothermal plant is settled.

“We came to this solution while working for a producer that needed to start generating energy to support the development of their geothermal projects. Our client was considering either diesel generators or solar roofing. However, we decided to take advantage of the existing geothermal resource placed there. After some engineering, we created the first geothermal plant for distributed generation with a production capacity of 20kW,” explains Gerardo, happily.

After further engineering and hard work, Enal has now developed a 500 kW geothermal portable power plant that is ready to be tested in real life conditions.