Date: March 29, 2002
Creator: Weare, Nancy Moller & Weare, John H.
Description: Many significant expenses encountered by the geothermal energy industry are related to chemical effects. When the composition, temperature of pressure of the fluids in the geological formation are changed, during reservoir evolution, well production, energy extraction or injection processes, the fluids that were originally at equilibrium with the formation minerals come to a new equilibrium composition, temperature and pressure. As a result, solid material can be precipitated, dissolved gases released and/or heat lost. Most geothermal energy operations experience these phenomena. For some resources, they create only minor problems. For others, they can have serious results, such as major scaling or corrosion of wells and plant equipment, reservoir permeability losses and toxic gas emission, that can significantly increase the costs of energy production and sometimes lead to site abandonment. In future operations that exploit deep heat sources and low permeability reservoirs, new chemical problems involving very high T, P rock/water interactions and unknown injection effects will arise.
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