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Verification of Geothermal Tracer Methods in Highly Constrained Field Experiments

Active Dates: 2012-2014

Participants: CSULB: Matt Becker, Adam Hawkins, Krystle Remmen,
U. Kansas: George Tsoflias, Matt Baker

Support: DOE Geothermal Technolgies Program

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are create in naturally hot rock with low permeability. Permeability can be increased through artficial hydraulic fracturing, but too much fracturing can lead to short circuiting in circulation wells, too little to poor fluid recovery. The purpose of this project is to test the ability of hydraulic and tracer tests to estimate connectivity between wells to support efficient design and prediction of heat recovery. We work in our well-studied Altona Flat Rock Site where we can image tracer moving through a bedding plan fracture.

We performed hydraulic and tracer tests as would be performed in a geothermal reservoir to estimate heat exchange potential. Then we compared these experiments to imaging of the fracture aperture and fluid flow using ground pentrating radar (GPR). Heat exchange was measured by circulating hot water and measuring temperature exchange using fiber optic distributed temperature sensing. We are still analyzing results, but is apparent that heat exchange is very heterogeneous, even in a single fracture.

Collecting radar images and an example fracture aperture reflection (compliments G. Tsoflias)

Collecting Radar Data

GPRWet conditions at Flat Rock

Fording Flat Rock

A schematic of the thermal experimentsor class "Thermal Setup" Goes HereThermal Test