The photo is sourced from Unsplash
The Global Energy Association has highlighted the majority of the above-listed technologies already. Currently, the researchers from the Kutateladze Institute of Thermophysics are engaged in practical applications development and are sourcing the potential investors for these projects.
Sergey Alekseenko, the member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Academic Director of the Kutateladze Institute of Thermophysics, reported to TASS that the cumulative budget of the project is estimated at RUB 15 bn.
“We proposed a comprehensive scientific and technical project called “Geothermal power generation technologies” within implementing the Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development of Russia, and this project has to undergo the entire innovation cycle – from conceiving the idea to monetisation and selling the equipment. The deadline is before 2030”, S. Alekseenko said.
He explained that after approval by the Priorities Council, the project is to be submitted to the Russian Ministry of Science, and after that – to the Commission with the Russian Government, which makes the final decision about allocation of funds.
The project budget stipulates for RUB 3 bn of public funding and RUB 12 bn of private investment. The public funds will be allocated for research. Industrial partners will be engaged in making pilot prototypes and roll-out, and the negotiations with Gazprom Neft and Zarubezhneft are currently underway.
The priority plan for locating the power generation plants includes the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands, in particular the Kunashir Island. Several small modular plants will be built in Tomsk Region. The Institute of Thermophysics plans to establish a dedicated research centre for development and tests of the processes.
Dry steam fired power plants are used for geothermal energy generation, they are located at hot springs with water temperature exceeding 120° Celsius. “If the temperature is below this threshold, then we get a water-and-steam mix, which we cannot feed to the turbine as it will result in a very intensive wear-and-tear, hence, water and steam need to be separated, then the steam is fed to the turbine. This is a quite complex process”, the Academician told.
At relatively low temperatures, about 70° Celsius, another method is used – the so-called binary cycle technology, when geothermal water is circulating in one contour, and the second contour is filled with Freon with lower boiling point. The Freon steam drives a turbine of a different type – the Freon turbine. According to S. Alekseenko, currently there is not a single power station in Russia operating on the basis of such principle.
Another objective of the project is development of technologies for recovering useful substances from geothermal brines – the natural waters coming out of hot springs with high concentration of various substances (up to 700 grams per litre). The key idea is to recover lithium – an especially valuable component for energy accumulation and storage systems. At present, lithium is not produced in Russia.
Another objective is to significantly expand the applications of geothermal heat pumps – the devices for carrying thermal energy from the low-grade heat source (with lower temperature) to the consumer, who needs heat transfer agent of higher temperature.
There are even more ambitious plans – to learn to use the deep heat of the Earth, i.e., the heat of dry rock with temperature up to 350° Celsius at almost 10 km depth, and these resources are practically inexhaustive.
“To recover heat from electricity, which is generated by solar batteries or wind farms, is extremely unfeasible, especially in Russia, where there is a shortage of such energy sources. In this respect, geothermal energy looks more preferable, because you can get it practically at any point without adverse environmental effects”, S. Alekseenko clarified.