Steam separator designed to cool geothermal water from 140-100°C

Trias Westland is the first Dutch initiative to explore geothermal energy at a depth of more than 4000 meters. Drilling and pumping water from this depth brings a lot of challenges to surface and one of them is the high temperature of the water.

Almost 4 kilometers. That's how far the drill of the new geothermal source in the Westland is currently located from the surface. It means the drill is nearing the Trias layer - an important moment for the source that's named after this earth layer. The drilling started in November and after many setbacks in December, currently the process is running smoothly. On a daily basis 8 to 15 meters per hour is being drilled. 

The Trias drillings will be the deepest geothermal drillings ever performed in the Netherlands. Other geothermal projects in the surroundings went as deep as the Lower Cretaceous, at a depth of 2.5-2.8 kilometers. This sand stone layer can provide for 10 to 20% of the heat demand of the Westland greenhouse area. A geological study performed by T&A Survey for the Municipality of Westland has shown that the deeper situated Trias sand stone layer, at a depth of 4 kilometers, has a heat potential able to provide for about 80% of the heat demand of the Westland area.

Growers for growers
In total, nearly 50 companies are involved in the Trias Westland project. For the connection to the heating network, the growers pay a fixed amount annually based on actual costs. The supply of heat will be charged at actual cost, thereby taking advantage of any windfall. The part that they do not use can be traded mutually; thus they can keep costs low and optimize the use of the heat source. After fifteen years, the geothermal heat company will be fully owned by the Westland heat cooperative.

Exploration and research has learned that the expected water temperature will be approximately 140°C. Producing the water with this temperature to surface brings more than one problem, but one of the biggest problems is that the surface reservoir, or water basin, is not resistant to temperatures above 80°C. So the water must be cooled.

Due to the expected high test flow of approximately 300 m3/hour in combination with the high temperature, there was no turnkey solution in the currently available equipment used during the well tests, to cool the test water from 140 – 80°C.

Bakker Oilfield Supply, through its division Bakker Geothermal Services started an innovation process in cooperation with SNN, to develop a Steam Separator. This Steam Separator is especially designed to cool the water from 140 – 100°C.

How does it work?
The pressurised water will be pumped in the two inlets on top of the Steam Separator. With the help of the internal technology the pressurised water will lose its pressure. The energy that is being released during that process will be released in form of steam.

The released steam, or energy, is being transferred to the atmosphere through the the chimneys and causes a temperature drop, in this case from 140 – 100°C. The chimneys also assure a safe release of the steam on a higher level, so it doesn't cause dangerous situations on the well site.

After the steam is separated in the Steam Separator, the water is transferred to a heat exchanger where it will be cooled to 80°C. The water is now brought to the maximum temperature that is allowed for the safe use of the surface reservoir or water basin.

For more information:
Bakker Oilfield Supply Coevorden
De Hulteweg 10
7741 LE Coevorden
T: +31 (0)524 599 666

Trias Westland
Postbus 1
2685 ZG Poeldijk 

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