Raser Technologies, a publicly traded (NYSE Arca: RZ) Utah company involved in low temperature geothermal installations and alternating current electric motors is back in the press release business. With a stock price of about $5.50 ranging from $4 to over $18 in the past year the company has the volatility to be interesting.

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. At that time UT was looking for a collaborator to sell more units. Perhaps Raser and UT have a deal. That might be a good thing if Raser can get it all done.

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.

The science is well enough known, run a warmed source liquid through a heat exchanger to heat a secondary liquid with a very low boiling point. The boiled fluid’s vapor is what pushes the impeller in the heat pump.

Raser's Installed Geothermal Generators

Raser's Installed Generators

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.

High temperature geothermal has been construction projects over 3 to 5 year periods. Raser will have done their first unit in just five months, if all completes as planned in October.

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.

Raser's Row of Modules

Raser's Row of Generator Modules

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.

Its also clean, no CO2 and the heat source fluid circulates in a closed loop so no fluid is exposed to the surface environment.

This should be the start of a great array of thermal recovery beyond geothermal. Practically all coal, nuclear, and gas power plants are throwing off huge amounts of heat that could be run through this type of generator. Even solar thermal will have waste heat to use.

One might think the check up is looking good. The now part of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch has committed to financing and with a successful ribbon cutting next month Raser and Untied Technologies Corp. could be the new leaders in alternative energy production. Not a sure thing yet, but few things have gotten this close since wind generation took off.

The hope is now that United Technologies can expand the market getting more sizes and other specifications standardized. Volume production could get to this business fast if others decide to meet Raser in competition.

Good Luck RASER! Congratulations United Technologies!


4 Comments so far

  1. Savings » Blog Archive » Checking Up On Low Temperature Geothermal By Raser and United … on September 17, 2008 8:16 AM

    […] Brian Westenhaus wrote an interesting post today on Checking Up On Low Temperature Geothermal By Raser and United …. Here’s a quick excerpt: […]

  2. Anything Hot Equals Power | New Energy and Fuel on November 25, 2008 6:03 AM

    […] is already out there. United Technologies has larger units out in geothermal just to start, with a lot of orders to fill at Razer Technologies. Electratherm (Post with coverage here.) is also installing units closer to Ener-G-Rotors […]

  3. tchibo gutschein on August 4, 2010 11:55 PM

    🙂 cool!

  4. Frank S Ciafone Jr on November 11, 2010 2:40 PM

    I saw the tv show on the hotel in Alaska.
    My question is would the system work With solar insted of Geothermal?

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