Magnetocaloric Generator for Geothermal Heat Energy Recovery

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aqwest
8276 Eagle Road Array
Larkspur, CO 80118
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

Traditional means for production of electricity from geothermal (GT heat use hot water naturally occurring in some locations at or near Earths surface or hot water obtained from deep wells. The former limits geothermally produced electricity to very few locations in areas of significant volcanic activity. The latter offers more application sites but the extreme cost of the required deep, high-temperature wells for the traditional Rankine cycle energy conversion make this approach economically attractive only in a few geographical areas. Geographical constraints and the high capital cost are the fundamental roadblocks to widespread use of GT power production. Aqwest proposes to develop a magneto caloric generator (MCG) capable of thermodynamically efficient operation using relatively low-temperature differentials that can be readily obtained from inexpensive shallow wells, which can be drilled in essentially all areas of the continental U.S The reduced capital cost of MCG coupled with much improved conversion efficiency allow for wide-spread use of GT power generation, thus making a significant impact on the economy while reducing the countrys dependence on foreign oil and cutting back on production of GHG. Aqwest MC device also offers reverse operation using mechanical energy to pump heat for cooling applications. Projected benefits: Geothermal power requires no fuel, it is therefore immune to fuel cost fluctuations. Proposed technology offers utilizing low cost shallow wells and high conversion efficiency, thus enabling a wide-scale use of GT power generation. It offers reducing US dependence on fossil fuels (especially foreign oil), the cost of electric power, and GHG emissions.