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    Round-Robin Evaluation of Methods for Analysis of Geothermal Brine

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    Geothermal liquid and gas analysis provides necessary information for evaluating corrosion and scaling, optimizing power plant design, assessing environmental impacts, and ensuring compliance with legal requirements. A basic problem with geothermal analysis is a lack of standardization of analytical methods.

    In 1976, Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL), operated by Battelle Memorial Institute for the U.S. Department of Energy, initiated a program under the U.S. Department of Energy-Division of Geothermal Energy (DOE-DGE) to determine the state of the art of methods of analysis for geothermal fluids. Following the issuance in 1976 of a comment manual [1]2 of literature-abstracted methods, an organizational meeting held in early 1977 led to the formulation of a round-robin field testing program. Attendees representing two government agencies, four government-funded laboratories, five private laboratories, and three industrial concerns agreed on 40 parameters to be evaluated. Two round-robins were conducted with approximately 20 laboratories participating in the analysis: the first sample collection, at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation site in East Mesa, Calif., involved the evaluation of a low-solids (0.4 percent by weight) brine, while the second, conducted at the Geothermal Loop Experimental Facility (GLEF) of the San Diego Gas and Electric Co., Niland, Calif., involved a high-solids (24 percent by weight) brine.

    Statistical analysis of the data from these tests shows that the greatest range of results was obtained for the species silver, aluminum, antimony, fluoride, bromide, iodide, phosphate (PO4), and total hydrogen sulfide (H2S). In addition, the constituents rubidium, copper, manganese, lead, and zinc showed a high degree of variability for the brine with low total dissolved solids (TDS). Barium, bicarbonate (HCO3), boron, potassium, sulfate (SO4), arsenic, and total carbon dioxide (CO2) were more difficult to analyze in the higher TDS brine than in the lower one.


    water analysis, geochemistry, groundwater, water chemistry, chemical tests, chemical analysis, geothermal, scaling, corrosion

    Author Information:

    Watson, JC
    supervisory chemist, U.S. Navy, Trident Refit Facility, Naval Submarine Base, Bangor, Bremerton, Wash.

    Committee/Subcommittee: G01.09

    DOI: 10.1520/STP30076S