MASSIVELY PARALLEL FULLY COUPLED IMPLICIT MODELING OF COUPLED THERMAL-HYDROLOGICAL-MECHANICAL PROCESSES FOR ENHANCED GEOTHERMAL SYSTEM RESERVOIRS

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Development of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) will require creation of a reservoir of sufficient volume to enable commercial-scale heat transfer from the reservoir rocks to the working fluid. A key assumption associated with reservoir creation/stimulation is that sufficient rock volumes can be hydraulically fractured via both tensile and shear failure, and more importantly by reactivation of naturally existing fractures (by shearing) to create the reservoir. The advancement of EGS greatly depends on our understanding of the dynamics of the intimately coupled rock-fracture-fluid system and our ability to reliably predict how reservoirs behave under stimulation and production. In order to increase ... continued below

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Podgorney, Robert; Huang, Hai & Gaston, Derek February 1, 2010.

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Development of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) will require creation of a reservoir of sufficient volume to enable commercial-scale heat transfer from the reservoir rocks to the working fluid. A key assumption associated with reservoir creation/stimulation is that sufficient rock volumes can be hydraulically fractured via both tensile and shear failure, and more importantly by reactivation of naturally existing fractures (by shearing) to create the reservoir. The advancement of EGS greatly depends on our understanding of the dynamics of the intimately coupled rock-fracture-fluid system and our ability to reliably predict how reservoirs behave under stimulation and production. In order to increase our understanding of how reservoirs behave under these conditions, we have developed a physics-based rock deformation and fracture propagation simulator by coupling a discrete element model (DEM) for fracturing with a continuum multiphase flow and heat transport model. In DEM simulations, solid rock is represented by a network of discrete elements (often referred as particles) connected by various types of mechanical bonds such as springs, elastic beams or bonds that have more complex properties (such as stress-dependent elastic constants). Fracturing is represented explicitly as broken bonds (microcracks), which form and coalesce into macroscopic fractures when external load is applied. DEM models have been applied to a very wide range of fracturing processes from the molecular scale (where thermal fluctuations play an important role) to scales on the order of 1 km or greater. In this approach, the continuum flow and heat transport equations are solved on an underlying fixed finite element grid with evolving porosity and permeability for each grid cell that depends on the local structure of the discrete element network (such as DEM particle density). The fluid pressure gradient exerts forces on individual elements of the DEM network, which therefore deforms and fractures. Such deformation/fracturing in turn changes the permeability, which again changes the evolution of fluid pressure, coupling the two phenomena. The intimate coupling between fracturing and fluid flow makes the meso-scale DEM simulations necessary, as these methods have substantial advantages over conventional continuum mechanical models of elastic rock deformation. The challenges that must be overcome to simulate EGS reservoir stimulation, preliminary results, progress to date and near future research directions and opportunities will be discussed.

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  • Stanford Geothermal Workshop,Stanford, Ca,02/01/2010,02/03/2010

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-10-17691
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 974761
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc933893

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  • February 1, 2010

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 15, 2016, 3:11 p.m.

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Podgorney, Robert; Huang, Hai & Gaston, Derek. MASSIVELY PARALLEL FULLY COUPLED IMPLICIT MODELING OF COUPLED THERMAL-HYDROLOGICAL-MECHANICAL PROCESSES FOR ENHANCED GEOTHERMAL SYSTEM RESERVOIRS, article, February 1, 2010; [Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc933893/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.