Progress of the LASL dry hot rock geothermal energy project

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Under sponsorship of the Division of Applied Technology of AEC, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory is investigating the possibilities and problems of extracting energy from geothermal reservoirs which do not spontaneously yield useful amounts of steam or hot water. The system for accomplishing this which is being developed first is a pressurized-water circulation loop intended for use in relatively impermeable hot rock. It will consist of two holes connected through the hot rock by a very large hydraulic fracture and connected at the surface through the primary heat exchanger of an energy utilization system. Preliminary experiments in a hole 2576 ft ... continued below

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Pages: 7

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Smith, M.C. December 31, 1974.

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Under sponsorship of the Division of Applied Technology of AEC, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory is investigating the possibilities and problems of extracting energy from geothermal reservoirs which do not spontaneously yield useful amounts of steam or hot water. The system for accomplishing this which is being developed first is a pressurized-water circulation loop intended for use in relatively impermeable hot rock. It will consist of two holes connected through the hot rock by a very large hydraulic fracture and connected at the surface through the primary heat exchanger of an energy utilization system. Preliminary experiments in a hole 2576 ft (0.7852 km) deep, extending about 470 ft (143 m) into the Precambrian basement rock underlying the Jemez Plateau of north-central New Mexico, revealed no unexpected difficulties in drilling or hydraulically fracturing such rock at a temperature of approximately 100 C, and demonstrated a permeability low enough so that it appeared probable that pressurized water could be contained by the basement rock. Similar experiments are in progress in a second hole, now 6701 ft (2.043 km) deep, about 1.5 miles (2.4km ) south of the first one. Here the bottomhole temperature is about 146 C, and again no unexpected difficulty was encountered in drilling or hydraulically fracturing the granitic basement rock. At least below about 4250 ft (1.295 km) the permeability of the basement rock is also very low at this location, and again the rock appears competent to contain a pressurized-water circulation system.

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Pages: 7

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  • Conference on research for the development of geothermal energy resources, Pasadena, CA, USA, 23 Sep 1974

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-74-1836
  • Report No.: CONF-740959-1
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5134390
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1060828

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • December 31, 1974

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  • Jan. 22, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

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  • Feb. 2, 2018, 2:42 p.m.

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Smith, M.C. Progress of the LASL dry hot rock geothermal energy project, article, December 31, 1974; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1060828/: accessed October 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.