Civil Engineering Features of Geothermal Power Plant

by Simon Peters, (F.ASCE), Supervising Civ. Engr.; Pacific Gas and Electric Co., San Francisco, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 2, Pg. 157-173

Document Type: Journal Paper


Geothermal power is harnessed by releasing steam from a geothermal reservoir through bore holes and conducting it through a heavily insulated pipe system to a turbine-generator unit. Low magnetic readings, a negative gravity anomaly, elliptic topographic expressions, and recent nearby volcanism indicate the heat source is intruded magma at relatively shallow depth. Selection of a plant site is determined by: (1) proximity to producing steam wells; (2) esthetic blending with the environment; (3) competent foundation material; and (4) the optimum economic overall site development evaluation. A plant consists of a turbine-generator building and an induced draft cross-flow type cooling tower. The structures are designed to use corrosion-resistant materials. Seismically, the geysers area typically has many microearthquakes with an absence of large magnitude earthquakes. Other factors involved are domestic water steam suppliers and steam productivity, environmental considerations, the hydraulics of the cooling water cycle, and jurisdiction by various state and county agencies.

Subject Headings: Thermal power | Power plants | Steam power | Turbines | Site investigation | Hydro power | Reservoirs | Building insulation

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