International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.37, No.14, 1842-1850, 2013
Classification of Geothermal Energy Resources in Japan Applying Exergy Concept
Higher demand for energy consumption and importance of environmental issues has encouraged researchers and policy makers to consider renewable energies more seriously. Geothermal resources are a green energy source that can make a considerable contribution in some countries. Japan has the third ranking geothermal energy potential, and its geothermal electricity production is currently eighth in the world. Since the nature of geothermal resources dictates its method of utilization, it is important to categorize available resources. There is no consensus on classification of geothermal resources. Most scientists, from geologist to engineers, agree on the term temperature. However, temperature or enthalpy alone cannot describe the nature of fluids; they can have same temperature with different phases, such as saturated water or saturated steam. Using exergy for resource classification benefits their comparison, according to their ability to do work. In this paper, exergetic classification of geothermal resources was applied to 18 under-operating geothermal power plants in Japan. Six geothermal fields have high exergy resources according to their SExI values in excess of 0.5. The remaining geothermal fields in Japan are classified in the medium resources zone. Classification results can be used by decision makers as a reference for future geothermal development. Copyright (c) 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.