Binary Cycle Power Plant

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Binary power plant process diagram - DOE EERE 2012


Binary cycle geothermal power generation plants differ from Dry Steam and Flash Steam systems in that the water or steam from the geothermal reservoir never comes in contact with the turbine/generator units. Low to moderately heated (below 400°F) geothermal fluid and a secondary (hence, "binary") fluid with a much lower boiling point that water pass through a heat exchanger. Heat from the geothermal fluid causes the secondary fluid to flash to vapor, which then drives the turbines and subsequently, the generators.

Binary cycle power plants are closed-loop systems and virtually nothing (except water vapor) is emitted to the atmosphere. Resources below 400°F are the most common geothermal resource, suggesting binary-cycle power plants in the future will be binary-cycle plants<Expansion depth limit exceededExpansion depth limit exceeded/>

Enel's Salts Wells Geothermal Plant in Nevada: This plant is a binary system that is rated at 13 MW Photo: U.S. Department of Energy

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