Evaluating Heat Extraction Performance of Closed-Loop Geothermal Systems with Thermally Conductive Enhancements in Conduction-Only Reservoirs: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

We investigated the impact of disc-shaped and linear thermal enhancements on performance of closed-loop geothermal systems using steady-state and transient COMSOL numerical simulations. Thermal enhancements refer to thermally conductive material introduced in the rocks surrounding a wellbore to compensate for the relatively low rock thermal conductivity and increase heat extraction. Materials proposed include composite cements with thermally conductive additives such as metals or graphite to obtain overall cement thermal conductivities of 10 to 100x the rock thermal conductivity. Our simulation approach was modeling a subsegment (e.g., 100 m long) of a wellbore with idealized (e.g., perfect disc-shaped) thermal enhancements, and we report results as relative increase in heat extraction with respect to systems without thermal enhancements. We did not evaluate technical feasibility or cost of installing thermal enhancements. Simulations indicate that for 5-mm thick disc-shaped thermal enhancements with 5-m radius, repeated every 1 m along the wellbore and with thermal conductivity of 100x the rock thermal conductivity, the thermal output increases roughly 20% with respect to a closed-loop system without thermal enhancements. For fishbone structure thermal enhancements, we estimate a roughly 7% increase in thermal output for 5-m long radially outward pipes with half the radius of the main wellbore, repeated every 2.5 m, with thermal conductivity of 100x the rock thermal conductivity.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2024
EventStanford Geothermal Workshop - Palo Alto, CA
Duration: 12 Feb 202414 Feb 2024

Conference

ConferenceStanford Geothermal Workshop
CityPalo Alto, CA
Period12/02/2414/02/24

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-88557

Keywords

  • advanced geothermal systems
  • closed-loop geothermal
  • thermal enhancements

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