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Title: Environmentally Friendly, Rheoreversible, Hydraulic-fracturing Fluids for Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Cost-effective creation of high-permeability reservoirs inside deep crystalline bedrock is the primary challenge for the feasibility of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Current reservoir stimulation entails adverse environmental impacts and substantial economic costs due to the utilization of large volumes of water “doped” with chemicals including rheology modifiers, scale and corrosion inhibitors, biocides, friction reducers among others where, typically, little or no information of composition and toxicity is disclosed. An environmentally benign, CO2-activated, rheoreversible fracturing fluid has recently been developed that significantly enhances rock permeability at effective stress significantly lower than current technology. We evaluate the potential of this novel fracturing fluid for application on geothermal sites under different chemical and geomechanical conditions, by performing laboratory-scale fracturing experiments with different rock sources under different confining pressures, temperatures, and pH environments. The results demonstrate that CO2-reactive aqueous solutions of environmentally amenable Polyallylamine (PAA) represent a highly versatile fracturing fluid technology. This fracturing fluid creates/propagates fracture networks through highly impermeable crystalline rock at significantly lower effective stress as compared to control experiments where no PAA was present, and permeability enhancement was significantly increased for PAA compared to conventional hydraulic fracturing controls. This was evident in all experiments, including variable rock source/type, operation pressuremore » and temperature (over the entire range for EGS applications), as well as over a wide range of formation-water pH values. This versatile novel fracturing fluid technology represents a great alternative to industrially available fracturing fluids for cost-effective and competitive geothermal energy production.« less
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Publication Date:
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geothermics, 58:22-31
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Geothermic; fracking; environmental; rheoreversible; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory