Commerce and academia partner on hybrid geothermal pilot project in Canada

Researchers in the University of Alberta’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Alberta-based company Razor Energy are working together on a pilot project that combines the power of geothermal energy with existing local oil and gas infrastructure.
Commerce and academia partner on hybrid geothermal pilot project in Canada Commerce and academia partner on hybrid geothermal pilot project in Canada Commerce and academia partner on hybrid geothermal pilot project in Canada Commerce and academia partner on hybrid geothermal pilot project in Canada Commerce and academia partner on hybrid geothermal pilot project in Canada

Jonathan Banks, research associate and project lead at University of Alberta, is partnering on a pilot project combining the power of geothermal energy with existing oil and gas infrastructure

Duncan Moore

Editor

Duncan Moore

"We are moving forward with the construction of a hybrid geothermal power plant," explained Jonathan Banks, research associate and project lead at the University of Alberta in Canada.

"The idea is to retrofit geothermal energy technology onto an existing oil and gas battery. We'll use the geothermal energy stores in co-produced fluid to improve power plant efficiency by up to 20 per cent."

Located in Swan Hills, Alberta, the project is designed to generate power from two sources that combine to 21MW of power. There are 5 to 7MW of renewable energy from heat to power generation, from a combination of hot water heat and heat recovered from all sources at the battery site. There are an additional 15 megawatts of natural gas-fired generation. In addition to being environmentally friendly, the technology will also reduce the costs and infrastructure required to bring electricity into the Alberta electric system grid.

"We can address our highest field operating cost—power—with renewable generation, which will improve the life, and economics, of a legacy oil producing operation," said Doug Bailey, president and CEO of Razor Energy.

"From a strategy perspective, we can also leverage a new form of energy revenue by capturing a waste product, in this case, heat, and turning it into a productive revenue source, which is power sales."

Over the summer months, Banks and his team will be involved in the installation of heat exchange infrastructure in the field for testing. "Over the next one-two years, we'll scale up to have 5MW of power being generated from these hot water reservoirs," he explained. "And, we will gather real field data to refine our theoretical models to actual outcomes."

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