Geothermal Power Plants

Geothermal power plants use steam or hot water from geothermal reser­voirs to turn turbines and generate electricity. Dry steam power plants use steam directly from a geothermal reservoir to turn turbines. Flash steam power plants allow high-pressure hot water from a geothermal reservoir to flash to steam in lower-pressure tanks. The resulting steam is used to turn turbines. A third type of geothermal power plant called a binary-cycle plant uses heat from moderately hot geothermal water to flash a second fluid to the vapor phase. The second fluid must have a lower boiling point than water so that it will be vaporized at the lower temperature associated with the moderately hot geothermal water. There must be enough heat in the geothermal water to supply the latent heat of vaporization needed by the secondary fluid to make the phase change from liquid to vapor. The vaporized secondary fluid is then used to turn turbines.

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