Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

An Improved Closed-Loop Heat Extraction Method From Geothermal Resources

[+] Author and Article Information
Arash Dahi Taleghani

Craft and Hawkins Department of
Petroleum Engineering,
Lousiana State University,
Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received September 7, 2012; final manuscript received November 8, 2012; published online July 2, 2013. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 135(4), 042904 (Jul 02, 2013) (7 pages) Paper No: JERT-12-1206; doi: 10.1115/1.4023175 History: Received September 07, 2012; Revised November 08, 2012

Disposal of produced water and induced earthquakes are two major issues that have endangered development of the geothermal energy as a renewable source of energy. To avoid these problems, circulation of a low-boiling working fluid in a closed loop has been proposed; however; since the major mechanism in this method for heat extraction is conduction rather than convection and additionally the heat conduction is limited to the wellbore surface. To overcome this shortcoming, the formation can be fractured with high conductivity material (for instance, silicon carbide ceramic proppants or cements with silane and silica fume as admixtures) to artificially increase the contact area between the “working fluid” and the reservoir. Our calculations show that fracturing increases the contact area by thousand times, additionally, the fracturing materials reinforce and stressed the formation, which reduce the risk of seismic activity due to temperature or pressure changes of the system during the production.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Typical injection and production mechanism to extract heat from dry resources

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Closed-loop circuit extract heat with zero mass withdrawal. Because of slow rate of heat transfer through conduction in casing, it will not result in economic heat generation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

A Vertical wellbore connected to a double-wing fracture filled and propped with high thermal conductivity proppants. Since, fractures are filled with the cement; there is no fluid flow through them

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

A schematic picture of a horizontal wellb with multiple fractures propped with high conductivity proppants

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Fig. 5

Cummulative extracted heat through conduction in nonfracture borehole (green line) is compared to one from wells with a double-wings (red line) and penny-shaped fracture (navy blue line). This graph shows that heat extraction in a fractured well could be orders of magnitude higher than a nonfractured well.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Heat flux to a penny-shape fracture with 100 m radius in a typical sandstone formation for a unit temperature different between fracture and the formation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Dimensionless temperature distribution around a penny-shaped heat sink




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