Geothermal Power Plants by Ronald DiPippo

By Paul Gipe

Geothermal Power Plants is the book I’d been looking for–an engineering treatise on geothermal. I’d written about geothermal in the mid 1980s, but I hadn’t kept up with the industry and needed a thorough refresher–and one with numbers.

I had corresponded with the author Ronald DiPippo in the 1980s. He’s now retired, or as they say in the academic world, he’s now a Professor Emeritus from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Dipippo is still active in the geothermal industry and widely regarded as one of the world’s experts on geothermal power plants. We’re fortunate to have him in the US as much of the geothermal development worldwide has occurred outside the US since the 1980s.

I’d planned a series of articles on where geothermal technology stands today, what technology is used, and what it costs to generate electricity with this technology. So, I called DiPippo and he mentioned his book in passing when we discussed Larderello, Italy, the birthplace of geothermal power.

Apparently, it is THE book on geothermal and I found out why. It is designed for engineering students and includes a solid grounding in heat flow and thermodynamics. But the book also examines in detail the different technologies employed for the different resources found around the world.

DiPippo also describes several case studies from major geothermal resource areas worldwide, including Larderello, the Geysers in northern California, and sites in Japan, Mexico, Russia, and Costa Rica.

Like any good book on renewable resources, DiPippo writes about actual generation and performance-how much electricity the plants generate and for how long. This is essential information for policy makers in determining the role geothermal can play in moving regions or entire nations toward greater and greater percentages of renewable energy in electricity supply.

My copy of DiPippo’s book is now highlighted, dog-eared, and with post-it notes scattered throughout.

Geothermal Power Plants: Principles, Applications, Case Studies and Environmental Impact by Ronald DiPippo; 2007; Butterworth Heinemann; ISBN: 978-0-7506-8620-4; Hardbound, 520 Pages; $134 USD;



1. Geology of Geothermal Regions

2. Exploration Strategies and Techniques

3. Geothermal Well Drilling

4. Reservoir Engineering


5. Single-Flash Steam Power Plants

6. Double-Flash Steam Power Plants

7. Dry-Steam Power Plants

8. Binary Cycle Power Plants

9. Advanced Geothermal Energy Conversion Systems

10. Exergy Analysis Applied to Geothermal Power Systems


11. Larderello Dry-Steam Power Plants, Tuscany, Italy

12. The Geysers Dry-Steam Power Plants, Sonoma and Lake Counties, California, U.S.A.

13. Cerro Prieto Power Station, Baja California Norte, Mexico

14. Hatchobaru Power Station, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan

15. Mutnovsky Flash-Steam Power Plant, Kamchakta Peninsula, Russia

16. Miravalles Power Station, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

17. Heber Binary Plants, Imperial Valley, California, USA

18. Magmamax Binary Power Plant, East Mesa, Imperial Valley California, USA

19. Environmental Impact of Geothermal Power Plants