This technology has more auxiliary equipment than atmospheric exhaust plants and is much larger with output reaching 100 MWe. It is more expensive pro rata due to its complexity, but, by way of compensation, it only uses half the quantity of steam per kWh compared with atmospheric exhaust plants.
Technical advances have made it possible to generate electricity with fluid temperatures as low as 80-90°C.
The International Geothermal Association (IGA) estimates that worldwide electricity-generating capacity from geothermal sources is over 8000 MWe, producing 50 TWh per year. This is expected to rise to 11,400 MWe by 2005. In addition to this there is the direct heat energy production. The estimated ultimate potential for high temperature geothermal electricity is 36,600 TWh per year. For heat alone, the global estimate is 14 million TJ (IGA).
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The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.