June 30, 2013
Conference Paper

Simulation of Enhanced Geothermal Systems: A Benchmarking and Code Intercomparison Study


Numerical simulation codes have become critical tools for understanding complex geologic processes, as applied to technology assessment, system design, monitoring, and operational guidance. Recently the need for quantitatively evaluating coupled Thermodynamic, Hydrologic, geoMechanical, and geoChemical (THMC) processes has grown, driven by new applications such as geologic sequestration of greenhouse gases and development of unconventional energy sources. Here we focus on Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), which are man-made geothermal reservoirs created where hot rock exists but there is insufficient natural permeability and/or pore fluids to allow efficient energy extraction. In an EGS, carefully controlled subsurface fluid injection is performed to enhance the permeability of pre-existing fractures, which facilitates fluid circulation and heat transport. EGS technologies are relatively new, and pose significant simulation challenges. To become a trusted analytical tool for EGS, numerical simulation codes must be tested to demonstrate that they adequately represent the coupled THMC processes of concern. This presentation describes the approach and status of a benchmarking and code intercomparison effort currently underway, supported by the U. S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program. This study is being closely coordinated with a parallel international effort sponsored by the International Partnership for Geothermal Technology (IPGT). We have defined an extensive suite of benchmark problems, test cases, and challenge problems, ranging in complexity and difficulty, and a number of modeling teams are applying various simulation tools to these problems. The descriptions of the problems and modeling results are being compiled using the Velo framework, a scientific workflow and data management environment accessible through a simple web-based interface.

Revised: August 29, 2013 | Published: June 30, 2013


Scheibe T.D., M.D. White, S.K. White, C. Sivaramakrishnan, S. Purohit, G.D. Black, and R. Podgorney, et al. 2013. Simulation of Enhanced Geothermal Systems: A Benchmarking and Code Intercomparison Study. In MODFLOW and More 2013: Translating Science into Practice, June 2-5, Golden, Colorado. Golden, Colorado:Integrated Ground Water Modeling Center. PNNL-SA-94774.