Enel Activates Geothermal-Hydro Hybrid Power Plant

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By Editors of Power Engineering

Enel Green Power North America Inc. announced they have begun operations of its fully-submersible downhole generator technology at its Cove Fort site in Utah.

By integrating the generator to the existing geothermal injection well, the company has created a site that generates both geothermal and hydroelectric power at one site.

"The operation of this technology, a world’s first, is a major milestone for the geothermal industry and a reinforcement of our commitment to innovation and energy efficiency," said Francesco Venturini, head of Enel’s Global Renewable Energies.

Enel initially tested the technology between July and September, and discovered the addition of a hydro generator increased output to 1,008 MW/h and offset the energy consumption of the plant by 8.8 percent.

The hydro generator captures the energy of the water flowing back into the earth to generate additional electricity while also better controlling the flow of brine back into the ground. The presence of the generator also creates pressure against the brine flow, which reduces the flow’s turbulence into the well and minimizes the potential for well damage.

Cove Fort is EGPNA’s second hybrid power plant to begin operations in the United States. The company also operates the Stillwater facility in Fallon, Nevada, which combines medium enthalpy, binary cycle geothermal, solar thermal and solar technologies at the same site.

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