ElectraTherm commissions small-scale geothermal power unit at Onsen in Japan

The Power+ unit of Electratherm on site in Beppu, Japan (source: Electratherm)

The Power+ unit of Electratherm on site in Beppu, Japan (source: Electratherm)

An exciting new project started power generation this week at an Onsen bath in Japan. An small-scale ORC Power+ Generator by ElectraTherm is now producing power from a low heat geothermal resource in Beppu, Japan.

In a release, U.S.based ElectraTherm, announces the commissioning of the Power+ Generator™ 4400 in Beppu, Japan.  This is the first Power+ Generator in the country and it utilizes geothermal heat to generate fuel-free, emission-free electricity at the site. Commissioned in March, the Power+ runs off low temperature geothermal steam from a small district heating system.  The power is sold to the local utility at an attractive feed-in-tariff rate for renewables. The existing geothermal well requires the temperature of the geothermal resource to be cooled before it can be used for heating.  As the Power+ generates power, it also provides the necessary cooling with zero environmental impact or imposition on the onsen’s primary function as a community resource.

ElectraTherm utilizes Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) and proprietary technologies to generate up to 110kWe of electricity from low temperature water ranging from 77-122°C. At this site the onsen provides geothermal steam at 110°C. Unlike other renewable sources, geothermal heat is baseload, providing a continuous hot water flow with power generation capabilities 24/7. Instead of expensive cooling equipment to lower the resource to a suitable temperature for heating, the water runs through the Power+ Generator which simultaneously cools the water up to 20°C while producing clean electricity.

“The Power+ Generator not only generates power and profit it also solves a problem – cooling onsen water that is otherwise too hot for human use” said Kazunori Ueda, Project Lead and Director of Sales & Marketing, Sankou Denki. “With Japan’s feed-in-tariff rate for geothermal at 40 Yen/kW (~$.33/kW), we see a strong opportunity for profit at this site and approximately 40 + similar sites in the prefecture of Oita alone – and hundreds more at other districting heating systems and onsens (hot springs) throughout Japan. The minimal impact to the property with a small footprint and quiet sound profile make this a hidden gem for the local community, serving as a resource and providing a fixed profit at a district heating system that has been in operation for many years, and will continue for many more.”

ElectraTherm’s Power+ Generators utilize waste heat on applications such as internal combustion engines, biomass boilers, incinerators, geothermal and also flare to power methane utilization at wastewater treatment plants and oil & gas fields. ElectraTherm’s Power+ fleet of 50+ global installations has exceeded 520,000 hours of run time. A list of reference sites is currently available on the website.

Source: Company release by email

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