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Title: Complete Fiber/Copper Cable Solution for Long-Term Temperature and Pressure Measurement in Supercritical Reservoirs and EGS Wells

High Temperature insulated wire and optical fiber cable is a key enabling technology for the Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP). Without insulated electrical wires and optical fiber, downhole temperature and pressure sensors, flow meters and gauges cannot communicate with the surface. Unfortunately, there are currently no insulated electrical wire or fiber cable constructions capable of surviving for extended periods of deployment in a geothermal well (240-325°C) or supercritical (374°C) reservoir. This has severely hindered engineered reservoir creation, management and utilization, as hot zones and cool water intrusions cannot be understood over time. The lack of a insulated electrical wire and fiber cable solution is a fundamental limitation to the viability of this energy source. The High Temperature Downhole Tools target specification is development of tools and sensors for logging and monitoring wellbore conditions at depths of up to 10,000 meters and temperatures up to 374oC. It well recognized in the industry that no current electronic or fiber cable can be successfully deployed in a well and function successfully for more a few days at temperatures over 240oC. The goal of this project was to raise this performance level significantly. Prysmian Group’s objective in this project was to develop a complete, multi-purposemore » cable solution for long-term deployment in geothermal wells/reservoirs that can be used with the widest variety of sensors. In particular, the overall project objective was to produce a manufacturable cable design that can perform without serious degradation: • At temperatures up to 374°C; • At pressures up to 220 bar; • In a hydrogen-rich environment; and • For the life of the well (> 5 years). This cable incorporates: • Specialty optical fibers, with specific glass chemistry and high temperature and pressure protective coatings for data communication and distributed temperature and pressure sensing, and • High-temperature insulated wire conductors Prysmian Group has developed a geothermal fiber optic cable (GFOC) solution which incorporates novel glass chemistry for optical fibers to operate at the required bandwidths in high temperature/high pressure hydrogen rich environments with fiber protection, high temperature insulated conductors and protective cladding for cable components. The cable solution has been tested in a geothermal installation for 10 months. The electrical insulation and optical fibers have been validated through laboratory testing to ensure successful operation for greater than 5 years at 300°C, with the possibility of higher temperatures depending on the particular well environment. With the 300°C optical fiber and electrical insulation developments completed and validated in laboratory tests the greatest challenge to a complete 300°C cable solution was protecting the optical fibers in the cable. Optical fibers are typically incased in a protective tube where the tube is filled with a gel. The gel serves as mechanical protection, prevent moisture ingress, and can include hydrogen scavenging materials. A suitable gel for use at 300°C could not be identified and an industrialized alternative was not fully attained. Despite the problems encountered and the lower long-term operating temperature of the cable solution, the project showed success in developing a complete cable solution for a large portion of the geothermal wells in operation today. Further work to obtain the higher long-term temperature goal of the project can be achieved based on the knowledge gained in the current project. This project is significant for many reasons including the new materials science, manufacturing technology, energy independence, and jobs created and will create.« less
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  1. Draka Cableteq USA, Inc., North Dighton, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Draka_DOE_Final Technical_Report_DE--EE0002786
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Draka Cableteq USA, Inc., North Dighton, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Contributing Orgs:
Tetramer Technologies, Pendleton, SC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY Downhole; Cable; Distributed Temperature Sensing; DTS; Fiber Optic Sensing; Hydrogen Insensitive Optical Fibers; High Temperature Optical Fiber Coatings; High Temperature Electrical Insulation