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Title: Development of an Advanced Stimulation / Production Predictive Simulator for Enhanced Geothermal Systems

There are several well-known obstacles to the successful deployment of EGS projects on a commercial scale, of course. EGS projects are expected to be deeper, on the average, than conventional “natural” geothermal reservoirs, and drilling costs are already a formidable barrier to conventional geothermal projects. Unlike conventional resources (which frequently announce their presence with natural manifestations such as geysers, hot springs and fumaroles), EGS prospects are likely to appear fairly undistinguished from the earth surface. And, of course, the probable necessity of fabricating a subterranean fluid circulation network to mine the heat from the rock (instead of simply relying on natural, pre-existing permeable fractures) adds a significant degree of uncertainty to the prospects for success. Accordingly, the basic motivation for the work presented herein was to try to develop a new set of tools that would be more suitable for this purpose. Several years ago, the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office recognized this need and funded a cost-shared grant to our company (then SAIC, now Leidos) to partner with Geowatt AG of Zurich, Switzerland and undertake the development of a new reservoir simulator that would be more suitable for EGS forecasting than the existing tools. That project has nowmore » been completed and a new numerical geothermal reservoir simulator has been developed. It is named “HeatEx” (for “Heat Extraction”) and is almost completely new, although its methodology owes a great deal to other previous geothermal software development efforts, including Geowatt’s “HEX-S” code, the STAR and SPFRAC simulators developed here at SAIC/Leidos, the MINC approach originally developed at LBNL, and tracer analysis software originally formulated at INEL. Furthermore, the development effort was led by engineers with many years of experience in using reservoir simulation software to make meaningful forecasts for real geothermal projects, not just software designers. It is hoped that, as a result, HeatEx will prove useful during the early stages of the development of EGS technology. The basic objective was to design a tool that could use field data that are likely to become available during the early phases of an EGS project (that is, during initial reconnaissance and fracture stimulation operations) to guide forecasts of the longer-term behavior of the system during production and heat-mining.« less
  1. Leidos, Inc., San Diego, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Leidos, Inc., San Diego, CA (United States); SAIC Inc., McLean, VA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Country of Publication:
United States
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY geothermal reservoir simulator, EGS, TOUGH2, TETRAD and STAR