skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Lessons learned from the pioneering hot dry rock project at Fenton Hill, USA

; ;
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 63; Journal Issue: C; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2017-08-10 05:48:54; Journal ID: ISSN 0375-6505
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom

Citation Formats

Kelkar, Sharad, WoldeGabriel, Giday, and Rehfeldt, Kenneth. Lessons learned from the pioneering hot dry rock project at Fenton Hill, USA. United Kingdom: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2015.08.008.
Kelkar, Sharad, WoldeGabriel, Giday, & Rehfeldt, Kenneth. Lessons learned from the pioneering hot dry rock project at Fenton Hill, USA. United Kingdom. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2015.08.008.
Kelkar, Sharad, WoldeGabriel, Giday, and Rehfeldt, Kenneth. 2016. "Lessons learned from the pioneering hot dry rock project at Fenton Hill, USA". United Kingdom. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2015.08.008.
title = {Lessons learned from the pioneering hot dry rock project at Fenton Hill, USA},
author = {Kelkar, Sharad and WoldeGabriel, Giday and Rehfeldt, Kenneth},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1016/j.geothermics.2015.08.008},
journal = {Geothermics},
number = C,
volume = 63,
place = {United Kingdom},
year = 2016,
month = 9

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1016/j.geothermics.2015.08.008

Save / Share:
  • This article describes how geothermal experts at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have created the world's deepest, hottest, hot dry rock geothermal reservoir two miles deep on the flanks of a dormant volcano. The reservoir, in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, lies 10,000 to 12,000 feet below the surface in hot granitic rock. Los Alamos pioneered the concept of extracting energy from hot dry rock in 1970, and its US DOE-funded program is now also supported in part by Japan and West Germany. The reservoir was created in a wellbore reaching a measured depth of 15,289 feet. Although basicmore » drilling and fracturing techniques used to develop the reservoir are common to commercial oil and gas exploration, inclined drilling and fracturing at depth in such hard, hot rock demanded that the Laboratory's researchers, in collaboration with industry and geothermal consultants, design and fabricate much of the equipment and instrumentation needed to bring in the reservoir.« less
  • An attempt was made to synthesize the results of active seismic experiments carried out by the Los Alamos National Laboratory's Hot Dry Rock Project staff for determining the geometrical and physical properties of the fracture system produced by hydraulic fracturing in a hot, low-permeability rock. Interpretation of data from several reflection, transmission, and attenuation experiments using seismic probes in the frequency range from a few hundred to more than 10/sup 4/ Hz led us to postulate the existence of a highly complex fracture system consisting of major discrete vertical cracks intersected by several inclined joints which are surrounded by amore » large volume of rock containing small-scale cracks. We found an interesting coincidence between the mean square fluctuation of P arrival time and Q/sup -1/ of coda waves. Both are increased by nearly the same amount (35approx.40%) when fluid pressure in the reservoir is increased. Another coincidence is the scale length of the inhomogeneity of roughly 3 m obtained from the frequency dependence of attenuation and also from the spatial variation of P arrival time. These results suggest that the seismic attenuation in the fractured region is caused primarily by scattering.« less
  • A transient mass balance model is developed to account for the dynamic behavior of an artificially stimulated hot dry rock (HDR) geothermal reservoir system in fractured granitic rock. Fluid mixing between fractured zones, hydrodynamic dispersion within zones, pore fluid displacement, and mineral dissolution effects are incorporated into the model. A two-zone system is sufficient to account for the major observed results from field testing of the Fenton Hill HDR system.
  • The chemistry of fluids circulated through an artificially-stimulated, hot dry rock (HDR) fractured geothermal reservoir system in granitic rock is described in terms of mixing phenomena, geothermometry, and approach to saturation with reservoir rock minerals. Based on the similar dynamic behavior of Na{sup +}, K{sup +}, Li{sup +}, Cl{sup {minus}}, and B species and other isotopic evidence, the presence of a concentrated {ital in-situ} pore fluid was identified. Mixing and displacement of this {ital in situ} fluid with meteoric make-up water is responsible for the observed behavior of the major dissolved species in the circulated fluid of this HDR system.