A Methodology for Calculating EGS Electricity Generation Potential Based on the Gringarten Model for Heat Extraction From Fractured Rock

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Abstract

Existing methodologies for estimating the electricity generation potential of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) assume thermal recovery factors of 5% or less, resulting in relatively low volumetric electricity generation potentials for EGS reservoirs. This study proposes and develops a methodology for calculating EGS electricity generation potential based on the Gringarten conceptual model and analytical solution for heat extraction from fractured rock. The electricity generation potential of a cubic kilometer of rock as a function of temperature is calculated assuming limits on the allowed produced water temperature decline and reservoir lifetime based on surface power plant constraints. The resulting estimates of EGS electricity generation potential can be one to nearly two-orders of magnitude larger than those from existing methodologies. The flow per unit fracture surface area from the Gringarten solution is found to be a key term in describing the conceptual reservoir behavior. The conceptual model is not indicative of reservoirs that can be created with demonstrated technology, but instead illustrates the scale and challenges of creating commercial EGS projects. The methodology can be applied to aid in the design of EGS reservoirs constructed by creating multiple isolated fracture zones (similar to that done in unconventional shale oil and gas completions) by giving minimum reservoir volume, fracture area, fracture spacing, number of fractures, and flow requirements for a target reservoir power output. Limitations of the idealized model compared to actual reservoir performance and the implications on reservoir design are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages679-687
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2016
EventGeothermal Resources Council 2016 Annual Meeting - Geothermal Energy Here and Now: Sustainable, Clean, Flexible, GRC 2016 - Sacramento, United States
Duration: 23 Oct 201626 Oct 2016

Conference

ConferenceGeothermal Resources Council 2016 Annual Meeting - Geothermal Energy Here and Now: Sustainable, Clean, Flexible, GRC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySacramento
Period23/10/1626/10/16

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-66485

Keywords

  • EGS
  • Electricity generation potential
  • Enhanced geothermal systems
  • Heat extraction
  • Heat mining
  • Heat recovery
  • Resource potential
  • Supply curve

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