A Center of Innovation Excellence

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

“At Stillwater, we’re given an example of how the best technological development arises as much from necessity as from the desire to experiment.”

Outside the box renewables

Started in 2009 as an air-cooled binary cycle geothermal plant, the plant has been revolutionised over the years, becoming an example of innovation.

The original configuration of Stillwater did not make it as competitive as expected. For this reason, we studied solutions that might increase its efficiency and performance.

“The hybrid plant is a best case in innovation, capable of renewing the very concept of renewables and opening up a new frontier of development for the entire sector.”

We’ve gone beyond the canonical idea of generating clean energy from a single source and we’ve transformed Stillwater into a hybrid plant, unique in the world because of its ability to integrate the generation of multiple renewables in one site.

Efficiency that comes from hybridisation

Stillwater is the first plant of its kind in the world. It integrates 26.4 MW of photovoltaic solar (field completed in 2012), 2 MW of solar thermal (plant built in 2014) and 33 MW of capacity coming from the original geothermal plant.

“The hybrid plant can generate 185,000 MWh, avoiding 97,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and providing clean energy to almost 17,000 households.”

We’ve combined the continuous generation capacity of medium-enthalpy, binary cycle geothermal with the capacity of solar spikes, into a single site.

Hybridisation allows us to respond more efficiently to the energy needs of Churchill county residents, who are the designated recipients of the plant’s energy.

Combining different renewable technologies at the same site allows us to use the same infrastructures, such as the electricity distribution lines, thus reducing the environmental impact even more.

 

“The Stillwater plant received the Geothermal Energy Association Honors award in the category “Technological Progress” for four years straight, in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.”

According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) of the United States, the hybrid plant is “a fundamental milestone for the renewable energy sector”, and “a reference point for innovation and research that is are guiding the future of the geothermal sector”.

Binary cycle geothermal science that uses water at high temperatures extracted from the subsoil

By day, the sun. By night, geothermal energy.