Comparative analysis of power plant options for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)

Mengying Li, Noam Lior

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) extract heat from underground hot dry rock (HDR) by first fracturing the HDR and then circulating a geofluid (typically water) into it and bringing the heated geofluid to a power plant to generate electricity. This study focuses on analysis, examination, and comparison of leading geothermal power plant configurations with a geofluid temperature from 200 to 800 °C, and also analyzes the embodied energy of EGS surface power plants. The power generation analysis is focused on flash type cycles for using subcritical geofluid (<374 °C) and expansion type cycles for using supercritical geofluid (>374 °C). Key findings of this study include: (i) double-flash plants have 24.3%-29.0% higher geofluid effectiveness than single-flash ones, and 3%-10% lower specific embodied energy; (ii) the expansion type plants have geofluid effectiveness > 750 kJ/kg, significantly higher than flash type plants (geofluid effectiveness < 300 kJ/kg) and the specific embodied energy is lower; (iii) to increase the turbine outlet vapor fraction from 0.75 to 0.90, we include superheating by geofluid but that reduces the geofluid effectiveness by 28.3%; (iv) for geofluid temperatures above 650 °C, double-expansion plants have a 2% higher geofluid effectiveness and 5%-8% lower specific embodied energy than single-expansion ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8427-8445
Number of pages19
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Engineered geothermal system (EGS)
  • Expansion type power plants
  • Flash type power plants
  • Geofluid effectiveness
  • Plant embodied energy
  • Plant utilization efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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