A U.S. firm claims that its turbine engines can generate electricity from geothermal wells at $0.01 per kilowatt-hour.
AMERICAN FORK, Utah, US, 2001-03-29 <SolarAccess.com> The turbine engine is a “perfect solution to meet normal and peak energy demands with a system that is both versatile and efficient,” says Neldon Johnson, president and CEO of International Automated Systems Inc. The Utah company is continuing to test its low-temperature, low-pressure system at Brigham Young University, but initial data from high-temperature, high-pressure applications indicate the unit yields 70 percent work efficiency, a major improvement over traditional turbine engines. The turbine “appears to be ideal for geothermal electric power derived from natural hot water or hot steam reservoirs under the earth’s surface,” he explains. Research indicates that there is 27 times more energy available from U.S. geothermal reserves than the entire country could consume, but the renewable energy remains relatively untapped due to the expense of using traditional steam systems to exploit the resource. The IAS engine could generate electricity from geothermal wells at a cost of less than 1 cent per kilowatt, predicts Johnson, significantly lower than current average costs. It could also produce hydrogen at less than half the cost of regular gasoline, which IAS claims would eliminate major economic impediments to fuel cell technologies. “Practical, affordable, adaptable, and featuring relatively light weight and low maintenance, the IAS system is designed to play a significant role in lessening worldwide dependence on fossil fuels and reducing harmful emissions resulting from conventional combustion engines,” says Johnson. The company expects to make units available commercially later this year. The units can be scaled to make it economically feasible to bank multiple systems in parallel, providing a flexible energy source to meet fluctuating power demands. IAS is discussing its engine with several power producers and legislators on its potential to increase national energy security and alleviate the problems in California.