Baker Hughes is committed to the growth of the sustainable energy industry. Our reliable, high-temperature products and services have been used on 95% of the geothermal wells ever drilled. Baker Hughes plays a significant role in generating clean and renewable power to meet energy demands of local communities.
The demand for geothermal energy is expected to triple in the next 25 years. This is due to its environmental benefits and cost. Geothermal energy is cleaner and cheaper than electricity generated by natural gas, clean coal, or diesel.
The Geothermal Energy Association published a report in 2010 called Geothermal Energy: International Market Update. It found that between 2005 and 2010, Germany was the fastest growing geothermal power producer in the world. The country had a whopping 2,774% increase in installed megawatt capacity.
This increase in geothermal drilling and production has made geothermal the fastest growing business for Baker Hughes in continental Europe. The Baker Hughes Center of Excellence for geothermal and high-temperature research and development is located in Celle, Germany. We are well-positioned to support the growing demand for products and services, and also Germany’s ambitious targets for renewable energy.
In 2009, Baker Hughes and the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) State Government launched a multimillion euro, five-year cooperative university research project. It’s aimed at improving technology for generating geothermal energy from very deep (4000 to 6000 m (13,123 to 19,685 ft)) geological formations. Baker Hughes and Lower Saxony's Technical University will combine their strengths in geosciences, material sciences, drilling technology, and technical systems. The goal is to achieve sustainable and marketable products and services.
Additionally, Germany’s federal government has awarded Baker Hughes a cofunded project. Its purpose is to develop cost-efficient drilling technologies that are especially applicable to high-temperature geothermal wells. A second project from the federal government is being conducted by Baker Hughes in Celle. The focus is to considerably improve the performance of electrical submersible pumps for geothermal wells.
In 2007, the Chena Hot Springs Resort, located 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks, became Alaska’s first commercially viable geothermal project. Baker Hughes’ electrical submersible pump system supplied the geothermal water to Chena's Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) generator. The 280 kW ORC uses naturally occurring geothermal water temperature to produce electricity. It has virtually no environmental impact and minimal parasitic load.
At our Houston Technology Center, US Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Program grants are used to develop enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). EGS are engineered reservoirs that produce energy otherwise uneconomical because of a lack of water and/or permeability. The DOE estimates EGS technology could supply at least 100,000 MW of electricity within 50 years.
Iceland has been running on geothermal power since the turn of the 20th century. Geothermal power supplies four terawatt-hours of electricity to the island a year. This fulfills about 25% of the country's consumption, in addition to nearly 90% of its heat and hot water. Iceland's geological evolution makes it especially well-suited to harvesting geothermal energy. The island is essentially one big volcano formed over millions of years as molten rock bubbled up from the seafloor. This country is the highest per-capita producer of geothermal power. Baker Hughes has participated in drilling wells by offering equipment and drilling expertise for more than 10 years.