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Title: Water Use in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS): Geology of U.S. Stimulation Projects, Water Costs, and Alternative Water Use Policies

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), geothermal energy generation in the United States is projected to more than triple by 2040 (EIA 2013). This addition, which translates to more than 5 GW of generation capacity, is anticipated because of technological advances and an increase in available sources through the continued development of enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs) and low-temperature resources (EIA 2013). Studies have shown that air emissions, water consumption, and land use for geothermal electricity generation have less of an impact than traditional fossil fuel?based electricity generation; however, the long-term sustainability of geothermal power plants can be affected by insufficient replacement of aboveground or belowground operational fluid losses resulting from normal operations (Schroeder et al. 2014). Thus, access to water is therefore critical for increased deployment of EGS technologies and, therefore, growth of the geothermal sector. This paper examines water issues relating to EGS development from a variety of perspectives. It starts by exploring the relationship between EGS site geology, stimulation protocols, and below ground water loss, which is one of the largest drivers of water consumption for EGS projects. It then examines the relative costs of different potential traditional and alternativemore » water sources for EGS. Finally it summarizes specific state policies relevant to the use of alternative water sources for EGS, and finally explores the relationship between EGS site geology, stimulation protocols, and below ground water loss, which is one of the largest drivers of water consumption for EGS projects. « less
Authors:
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
464
DOE Contract Number:
FY14 AOP 4.1.0.1
Product Type:
Dataset
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Collaborations:
Argonne National Laboratory
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Program (EE-2C)
Subject:
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; EGS; enhance geothermal system; power; geology; alternative water; policy; water
OSTI Identifier:
1170247
  1. The Geothermal Data Repository (GDR) is the submission point for all data collected from researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office (DOE GTO). The DOE GTO is providing access to its geothermal project information through the GDR. The GDR is powered by OpenEI, an energy information portal sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
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  1. This report examines life cycle water consumption for various geothermal technologies to better understand factors that affect water consumption across the life cycle (e.g., power plant cooling, belowground fluid losses) and to assess the potential water challenges that future geothermal power generation projects may face.more » Previous reports in this series quantified the life cycle freshwater requirements of geothermal power-generating systems, explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids, and assessed future water demand by geothermal power plants according to growth projections for the industry. This report seeks to extend those analyses by including EGS flash, both as part of the life cycle analysis and water resource assessment. A regional water resource assessment based upon the life cycle results is also presented. Finally, the legal framework of water with respect to geothermal resources in the states with active geothermal development is also analyzed. « less
  2. This report is the third in a series of reports sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Program in which a range of water-related issues surrounding geothermal power production are evaluated. The first report made an initial attempt at quantifying the life cyclemore » fresh water requirements of geothermal power-generating systems and explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids. The initial analysis of life cycle fresh water consumption of geothermal power-generating systems identified that operational water requirements consumed the vast majority of water across the life cycle. However, it relied upon limited operational water consumption data and did not account for belowground operational losses for enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs). A second report presented an initial assessment of fresh water demand for future growth in utility-scale geothermal power generation. The current analysis builds upon this work to improve life cycle fresh water consumption estimates and incorporates regional water availability into the resource assessment to improve the identification of areas where future growth in geothermal electricity generation may encounter water challenges. « less
  3. This report is the third in a series of reports sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Program in which a range of water-related issues surrounding geothermal power production are evaluated. The first report made an initial attempt at quantifying the life cyclemore » fresh water requirements of geothermal power-generating systems and explored operational and environmental concerns related to the geochemical composition of geothermal fluids. The initial analysis of life cycle fresh water consumption of geothermal power-generating systems identified that operational water requirements consumed the vast majority of water across the life cycle. However, it relied upon limited operational water consumption data and did not account for belowground operational losses for enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs). A second report presented an initial assessment of fresh water demand for future growth in utility-scale geothermal power generation. The current analysis builds upon this work to improve life cycle fresh water consumption estimates and incorporates regional water availability into the resource assessment to improve the identification of areas where future growth in geothermal electricity generation may encounter water challenges. « less
  4. Active Management of Integrated Geothermal–CO2 Storage Reservoirs in Sedimentary Formations: An Approach to Improve Energy Recovery and Mitigate Risk: FY1 Final Report The purpose of phase 1 is to determine the feasibility of integrating geologic CO2 storage (GCS) with geothermal energy production. Phase 1 includesmore » reservoir analyses to determine injector/producer well schemes that balance the generation of economically useful flow rates at the producers with the need to manage reservoir overpressure to reduce the risks associated with overpressure, such as induced seismicity and CO2 leakage to overlying aquifers. Based on a range of well schemes, techno-economic analyses of the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) are conducted to determine the economic benefits of integrating GCS with geothermal energy production. In addition to considering CO2 injection, reservoir analyses are conducted for nitrogen (N2) injection to investigate the potential benefits of incorporating N2 injection with integrated geothermal-GCS, as well as the use of N2 injection as a potential pressure-support and working-fluid option. Phase 1 includes preliminary environmental risk assessments of integrated geothermal-GCS, with the focus on managing reservoir overpressure. Phase 1 also includes an economic survey of pipeline costs, which will be applied in Phase 2 to the analysis of CO2 conveyance costs for techno-economics analyses of integrated geothermal-GCS reservoir sites. Phase 1 also includes a geospatial GIS survey of potential integrated geothermal-GCS reservoir sites, which will be used in Phase 2 to conduct sweet-spot analyses that determine where promising geothermal resources are co-located in sedimentary settings conducive to safe CO2 storage, as well as being in adequate proximity to large stationary CO2 sources. « less
  5. Hydraulic fracturing is currently the primary method for stimulating low-permeability geothermal reservoirs and creating Enhanced (or Engineered) Geothermal Systems (EGS) with improved permeability and heat production efficiency. Complex natural fracture systems usually exist in the formations to be stimulated and it is therefore critical tomore » understand the interactions between existing fractures and newly created fractures before optimal stimulation strategies can be developed. Our study aims to improve the understanding of EGS stimulation-response relationships by developing and applying computer-based models that can effectively reflect the key mechanisms governing interactions between complex existing fracture networks and newly created hydraulic fractures. In this paper, we first briefly describe the key modules of our methodology, namely a geomechanics solver, a discrete fracture flow solver, a rock joint response model, an adaptive remeshing module, and most importantly their effective coupling. After verifying the numerical model against classical closed-form solutions, we investigate responses of reservoirs with different preexisting natural fractures to a variety of stimulation strategies. The factors investigated include: the in situ stress states (orientation of the principal stresses and the degree of stress anisotropy), pumping pressure, and stimulation sequences of multiple wells. « less