Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hot Rocks Low Temperature Geothermal Update

Brian Westenhaus takes an interesting look at progress by low temperature geothermal company Raser.
Barely a year into the geothermal business the Raser idea is based on good working technology. They are using an off the shelf award winning heat pump from United Technologies set up to drive a generator instead of a motor driving the compressor as done successfully by Gwen Holdmann up in Alaska....Raser has reported some progress. But the avalanche of press releases that haven’t panned out to the liking of the stock-tracking people isn’t building a lot of confidence.

...Raser is saying that they have optimized the generators to run on source temperatures of between 200 to 300 degrees F. This is a range that works for much wider areas of geothermal resources than temperatures needed for full flash steam generation. Gwen Holdmann and UT have shown full function at 165 degrees.

...The project is in Beaver County Utah. On August 12 they took delivery of the first 50 generator units from UT and have announced they are all in place as of September 4th with the cooling towers and hook up to go. It’s expected that these 50 generators will output 10 megawatts continuous. That will be something, a sure start on growth, as reports have the capital cost approximating wind farm and solar thermal installations but with 24/7/365 output for a very different economic picture. Reports say that Raser has eight projects underway in Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and Nevada.

The design is for modular generators, so that one module can be maintained while others continue to operate. Modular building also reduces costs. Raser is estimating investment recovery in 12 to 18 months. _NewEnergyAndFuel
Very fast implementation, and very favourable investment recovery estimates. Are they just blowing smoke, or is this for real?

Bank of America subsidiary Merrill Lynch is backing Raser, and the proof of the pudding will happen quite soon. We will not be kept in suspense long.

Raser's stock price has been fluctuating wildly, which suggests that opportunity may be knocking for those with liquid investment capital.



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