October 14, 2018
Journal Article

Collab Fracture Characterization: Preliminary Results from the Modeling and Flow Testing of Experiment 1


The EGS Collab project is developing ~10-20 m-scale field sites where fracture stimulation and flow models can be validated against controlled, small-scale, in-situ experiments. At the first experimental site, a hydraulic fracture will be created in metamorphic rock at the 4850 level in the former Homestake Mine. The experimental concept is for fracturing to be initiated at an injection well and continue until it intersects a production well approximately 10 meters away. Initial step-pressure flow testing of the fracture are to be performed to describe pressure-aperture-flow relationships. The flow field between the injector and producer boreholes will be characterized using a series of forced gradient dipole tracer tests. A number of fracture characterization models have been used to assist in the design of the tracer tests. The tracer test program will use conservative, sorbing, and particulate tracers, as well as sampling for radon gas to describe the fracture surface area (i.e., potential heat transfer area), flow pathway distribution, and volume. Tracer concentration at the production well (i.e. break through curves) will be measured using a series of inline sensors, liquid sampling devices, filtering of the effluent, and the measuring of gas concentrations in the effluent. Tracer monitoring data will be compared against results from a collection of numerical simulators developed at U.S. national laboratories and universities for the purpose of validating these flow and transport models. Ultimately these same models will be used to predict the heat transfer characteristics of the fracture and will be compared to a thermal characterization field test where cold water will be injected at the injection well and the temperature will be measured at the production well. This paper discusses the early tracer transport model predictions and parameters sensitivity that affect the tracer breakthrough curves at the production well.

Revised: May 9, 2019 | Published: October 14, 2018


Mattson E.D., M.D. White, Y. Zhang, B.G. Johnston, and A.J. Hawkins. 2018. Collab Fracture Characterization: Preliminary Results from the Modeling and Flow Testing of Experiment 1. Geothermal Resources Council. Transactions. 42. PNNL-SA-137950.