Manufacturing Savvy

The Invasion of the Green Machine?

Well it's not really an invasion and in fact it's a good thing. The Green Machine, manufactured by ElectraTherm Inc., turns geothermal heat into electricity.

The company recently began the first of two projects that will create power from heat captured in geothermal brine, a common byproduct of drilling for oil. It can convert low temperature (200 degree F) geothermal heat into electricity for onsite consumption, or to sell power to the grid.

This machine is versatile and can produce power from a wide array of heat sources including industrial waste heat, engines, biomass, and solar thermal installations. However the company says current interest lies in the geothermal application.

The company and its partner, Gulf Coast Green Energy, use the machines to make clean electricity at two projects funded by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America.

"Given the modularity and scalability of ElectraTherm's technology, the company plans to introduce geothermal systems from the current 50 kW size up to 500 kW. The smaller units can economically address smaller geothermal resources - including the tens of thousands of oil and gas wells in the U.S. and Canada alone. The larger units can be installed in parallel to rapidly construct multi-megawatt plants for larger geothermal resources," said Bill Olson, ElectraTherm Sr. VP of Business Development.

Geothermal heat is in abundant supply according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which said that if we tapped 40% of the geothermal heat under the U.S., it would meet demand 56,000 times over.

MIT said an investment of $800 million to $1 billion could produce more than 100 gigawatts of electricity by 2050, equaling the combined output of all 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S.

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