Geothermal Uses and Projects on the Oregon Institute of Technology Campus


John W. Lund and Tonya “Toni” Boyd

Key Words:

space heating, power generation, aquaculture, greenhouse and drilling

Geo Location:

Klamath Falls, Oregon


World Geothermal Congress




38. Integrated Energy Systems, Cascaded Uses



Paper Number:


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Oregon Institute of Technology moved their campus to the present location in the early 1960s to take advantage of the geothermal hot water that could be used for heating the buildings. Three wells between 1200 and 1800 feet (365 and 550 m) deep were drilled, producing 192oF (89oC) water at a maximum flow of 980 gpm (62 L/s). There are presently 12 buildings being geothermally heated covering approximately 732,000 ft2 (68,000 m2) of floor space, saving approximately $1,000,000 annually in heating costs. Line-shaft pumps with variable frequency drives are used to produce the geothermal fluids from the well, and then the hot water is gravity fed to all buildings on campus. Plate heat exchangers are located in each building to separate the potentially corrosive geothermal fluids from the secondary “clean” water for heating the various rooms. The geothermal water is finally injected into two injection wells located approximately 2,000 feet (610 m) from the production wells. A 280 kW (gross) binary power plant was installed on campus to use the existing well water to provide some of the electricity needs for the campus. In addition, a 5,300 foot (1,600 m) deep well was drilled to tap into a 196oF (91oC) geothermal resource in the fault system on the east edge of campus. The fluids would be used to power a 0.8 to 1.0 MWe (gross) binary plant to provide some of the electricity needs for campus. Thus, the campus would become the first in the world to provide some of its energy needs from a geothermal resource found on its property. Finally, the “waste” fluid from the heating system would be used to provide heat for experimental greenhouses and aquaculture facilities on campus. All of these future uses would be available for student projects and as a demonstration site for interested investors and developers of geothermal energy.

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