Systems analysis can provide insight into the complex interplay of issues having the potential to affect the market penetration of geothermal technologies. Argonne supports the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in evaluating the environmental impacts of geothermal technologies through life-cycle analysis (LCA) that tracks energy, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water per kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated, and materials used in significant quantities for the construction of the generating facility. Geothermal technologies that have undergone or are undergoing analysis include hydrothermal binary, hydrothermal flash, enhanced geothermal system (EGS), geopressured systems, and sedimentary systems.
- Life-Cycle Analysis Results of Geothermal Systems in Comparison to Other Power Systems (PDF). This report summarizes the results of a life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions analysis conducted with Argonne National Laboratory’s expanded Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model for geothermal power-generating technologies, including enhanced geothermal, hydrothermal flash, and hydrothermal binary technologies. The report compares geothermal technologies to other power-generating systems by expanding the GREET model to include power plant construction for these latter systems with literature data.
- Water Use in the Development and Operation of Geothermal Power Plants (PDF). This report summarizes current knowledge about the life-cycle water requirements of geothermal electric power-generating systems and the water quality of geothermal waters. The geothermal technologies considered include enhanced geothermal, hydrothermal flash, and hydrothermal binary. The report compares the life-cycle water requirements of geothermal technologies to other power generation technologies. The data for the water quality analyses are available via the Argonne Geothermal Geochemical Database.