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Springerplus. 2014 Feb 24;3:110. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-110. eCollection 2014.

Applications of fractured continuum model to enhanced geothermal system heat extraction problems.

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Sandia National Laboratories, P.O. Box 5800, Albuquerque, NM 87185 USA.
IBM Research, Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Bldg. 3, Damastown Industrial Estate, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, Ireland.


This paper describes the applications of the fractured continuum model to the different enhanced geothermal systems reservoir conditions. The capability of the fractured continuum model to generate fracture characteristics expected in enhanced geothermal systems reservoir environments are demonstrated for single and multiple sets of fractures. Fracture characteristics are defined by fracture strike, dip, spacing, and aperture. The paper demonstrates how the fractured continuum model can be extended to represent continuous fractured features, such as long fractures, and the conditions in which the fracture density varies within the different depth intervals. Simulations of heat transport using different fracture settings were compared with regard to their heat extraction effectiveness. The best heat extraction was obtained in the case when fractures were horizontal. A conventional heat extraction scheme with vertical wells was compared to an alternative scheme with horizontal wells. The heat extraction with the horizontal wells was significantly better than with the vertical wells when the injector was at the bottom.


Anisotropic permeability; Enhanced geothermal systems; Fractured continuum model; Geostatistical simulations; Geothermal reservoir simulation; Heat extraction: Fracture network

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