Hybrid Natural Gas Geothermal Combined Cycle Power Plant Analysis: Paper No. SPE-215757-MS

Daniel Wendt, Ghanashyam Neupane, Juliet Simpson, Guangdong Zhu, Joshua McTigue

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Low temperature geothermal resources, including those associated with oil and gas production, are an underutilized source of low carbon energy. The present work investigates coupling of low-temperature geothermal resources with concentrating solar and/or natural gas energy sources to increase the number of locations at which power generation from low temperature geothermal resources would be technically and economically viable. Stand-alone and hybrid geothermal power cycles are simulated using SimTech IPSEpro process modeling software. Design point strategies for a hybrid power cycle that may operate with either a single heat source or two simultaneous heat input sources are considered. Additionally, off-design power plant operation is investigated to consider the impacts of the heat source availability and ambient temperature variations. The off-design analysis utilizes a modeling tool that predicts power plant performance at each time step as a function of topping cycle heat input (from gas or solar), bottoming cycle heat input (from geothermal), and ambient temperature. Addition of a steam topping cycle to an organic Rankine cycle geothermal power plant provides opportunities to increase the efficiency and power output relative to a stand-alone geothermal power plant. Additionally, use of the waste heat from gas turbine power generation in a geothermal bottoming cycle provides opportunities to increase the amount of power generation associated with each unit of carbon dioxide emitted. This paper will describe the hybrid plant configuration evaluated, discuss the predicted power cycle performance, and compare with stand-alone natural gas and geothermal power generation cases. The power cycle investigated is expected to be applicable for use with conventional hydrothermal resources as well as with geologic thermal energy storage applications and/or enhanced geothermal systems. The steam topping cycle could use a concentrated solar heat source for fully renewable hybrid plant configuration. A plant initially constructed with a natural gas topping cycle heat source could be converted to a solar heat source part way though the power cycle operational life to achieve life cycle carbon emission reductions.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2023
EventSPE Energy Transition Symposium - Houston, Texas
Duration: 22 Aug 202323 Aug 2023


ConferenceSPE Energy Transition Symposium
CityHouston, Texas

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-86610


  • concentrating solar power
  • CSP
  • geothermal
  • hybrid
  • natural gas


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