January 26, 2015
Conference Paper

Code Comparison Study Fosters Confidence in the Numerical Simulation of Enhanced Geothermal Systems


Numerical simulation has become a standard analytical tool for scientists and engineers to evaluate the potential and performance of enhanced geothermal systems. A variety of numerical simulators developed by industry, universities, and national laboratories are currently available and being applied to better understand enhanced geothermal systems at the field scale. To yield credible predictions and be of value to site operators, numerical simulators must be able to accurately represent the complex coupled processes induced by producing geothermal systems, such as fracture aperture changes due to thermal stimulation, fracture shear displacement with fluid injection, rate of thermal depletion of reservoir rocks, and permeability alteration with mineral precipitation or dissolution. A suite of numerical simulators was exercised on a series of test problems that considered coupled thermal, hydraulic, geomechanical, and geochemical (THMC) processes. Problems were selected and designed to isolate selected coupled processes, to be executed on workstation class computers, and have simple but illustrative metrics for result comparisons. This paper summarizes the initial suite of seven benchmark problems, describes the code comparison activities, provides example results for problems and documents the capabilities of currently available numerical simulation codes to represent coupled processes that occur during the production of geothermal resources. Code comparisons described in this paper use the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard ISO-13538 for proficiency testing of numerical simulators. This approach was adopted for a recent code comparison study within the radiation transfer-modeling field of atmospheric sciences, which was focused on canopy reflectance models. This standard specifies statistical methods for analyzing laboratory data from proficiency testing schemes to demonstrate that the measurement results do not exhibit evidence of an unacceptable level of bias.

Revised: September 6, 2016 | Published: January 26, 2015


White M.D., and B.R. Phillips. 2015. Code Comparison Study Fosters Confidence in the Numerical Simulation of Enhanced Geothermal Systems. In Proceedings of the 40th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, January 26-28, 2015, Stanford, California, Paper No. SGP-TR-204. Stanford, California:Stanford University. PNNL-SA-107511.