System For Enhancing Geothermal Energy Extraction

Case ID:
UNR15-022

 

Background

With ever-increasing energy security and climate change issues, there is a growing interest in the use of renewable energy sources, such as geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is everywhere in abundant supply, challenging engineers and inventors to harvest it economically. Researchers at the University of Nevada Reno have created a novel method for enhancing the energy extraction from a geologic formation.

 

Description

Our researchers have developed a new extraction method for geothermal energy, using a multi-level fracture network system accessible via a series of pilot holes. This method operates on a top-to-bottom flow of the convective cooling fluid which leads to a dramatically improved process of exchanging heat on the subsurface. This system will benefit the industry because it increases the hydrothermal fluid 's exit temperature, thus increasing thermodynamic efficiency.

 

Advantages

  • The system raises the output temperature of the cooling fluid and thus improves the performance of the power system with improved thermodynamic efficiency.
  • This system enables a larger portion of the gross thermal energy from the ground to be converted into usable mechanical or electrical energy.
  • The fractured zone can be made sufficiently large in volume (to access stored heat) as well as large in outside surface area (to access convective-conductive heat from the hot surrounding rock mass), and therefore, can be designed to extract large amounts of geothermal energy for sufficiently long time periods.
  • The patented heat extraction system can be used in combination of additional enhancement techniques to multiply the thermodynamic advantages.

 

Patent

 

 

 

 

UNR15-022

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cara Baird
Licensing Associate
University of Nevada, Reno
carab@unr.edu
Inventors:
George Danko
Keywords:
Energy and Renewables