From oil & gas to geothermal – Baker Hughes & GE on its geothermal business
Building upon its oil & gas business and technology, Baker Hughes - a GE company (BHGE) is also supporting geothermal development with drilling services and components, describing geothermal as a great opportunity for the world and the company.
In an article published in Italy this week, oil and gas service firm Baker Hughes, now a General Electric’s company (BHGE) is being featured on its geothermal business built upon its oil & gas activities.
Operating in Italy through Nuovo Pignone of Florence, Baker Hughes merged with General Electric’s oil & gas business, the company is not only working on oil and related projects.
In a recent article Massimo Stolzuoli, Senior sales operations manager of BHGE describes “how important and delicate is the link between energy and climate”, focusing in particular on the role of geothermal energy.
“Among the renewable sources, geothermal energy – Stolzuoli observes – has certain advantages: it allows development of medium-sized plants minimizing the occupied surface and therefore does not require large extensions that are typical, for example, of photovoltaic plants of the same potentiality; it supplies electricity in a programmable way not being dependent on very volatile atmospheric variables (unlike primary sources such as solar and wind). Looking in particular at Italy, geothermal energy is definitely confirmed as a strategic sector for our territories: important both for the results achieved so far and for future prospects facing the technological challenge of the development of ever more sustainable geothermal plants compatible with the environment”.
On this frontier, for example, geothermal systems based on the Organic Rankine Cycle technology, which Stolzuoli describes as “a particular closed thermodynamic cycle that uses a low-boiling working fluid that evaporates under pressure even with hot springs below 200 ° C. »; it is ultimately a “closed” cycle, which does not generate gaseous emissions into the atmosphere, in which the geothermal fluid is completely re-injected into the reservoir. Finally, it guarantees a minimal visual and acoustic impact”. Solutions that BHGE looks at very closely.
Although the core business of Baker Hughes is not geothermal, for BHGE it is however possible to operate in this field “borrowing innovations derived from oil & gas experience and adapting them to the specific geothermal field” in the various areas of the production chain .
“We start from the study of the subsoil to go to design and optimize highly productive drilling, having developed series of chisels such as the KymeraTM or VangardTM series suitable for high temperatures typical of geothermal fields, or the use of well bottom engines and Directional drilling systems such as Auto-TrackTM Xtreme. Of particular importance are the drilling monitoring systems (LWD and MWD) where the electronics have been designed to withstand particularly challenging environments or the ESP submersible pumps of the CENetic series which guarantee high reliability and efficiency.
As for the electrical production plant, BHGE can provide efficient and reliable steam turbines compatible with the most aggressive fluids, as well as expansion machines for Organic Rankine Cycles. Another critical component is the compressors for the extraction of non-condensable gases or for their re-entry into the reservoir. BHGE is in fact world leader for compression and rejection machines suitable for high pressures, high temperatures and corrosive fluids.”, so Stolzuoli.
The company aims at making the best technologies available to the market, based on the characteristics (and therefore the needs) of the individual regions and the specific geothermal resources to be cultivated, that sustainable development in the geothermal field will be able to progress further. “To date – so Stolzuoli – geothermal covers just over 1% of the production of renewable sources worldwide but has enormous potential and is a fundamental step in a balanced development of the energy mix in our country. This is an excellent opportunity to develop a model of environmental compatibility and at the same time to create profitability and economic impact on the area, also enhancing the supply chain of Italian technology. ” An “opportunity” that sees Tuscany position itself in the front row.
Despite initial comment, there actually is information available on the geothermal services offered, check here.