Advancing Reactive Tracer Methods for Measuring Thermal Evolution in CO2- and Water-Based Geothermal Reservoirs Geothermal Lab Call Project

From Open Energy Information

Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Advancing Reactive Tracer Methods for Measuring Thermal Evolution in CO2- and Water-Based Geothermal Reservoirs
Project Type / Topic 1 Laboratory Call for Submission of Applications for Research, Development and Analysis of Geothermal Technologies
Project Type / Topic 2 Tracers and Tracer Interpretation
Project Description The concepts and theory behind the use of heat-sensitive tracers to study the thermal evolution of geothermal reservoirs was developed in the late 1980's under the Hot Dry Rock Project. Those studies described–conceptually and mathematically–the application of reactive tracers to tracking thermal fronts and to reservoir sizing. Later mathematical treatments focused on application of a single reactive tracer test to recover the temperature profile of a single streamtube. Previous tracer work has mainly focused on identifying conservative tracers. In these studies, chemicals that degraded at reservoir temperatures were discarded. Benzoic acids and dicarboxylic acids, which were found by Adams to degrade, may be useful as reactive tracers. Organic esters and amide tracers that undergo hydrolysis have been investigated and their use as reactive tracers appears feasible over a temperature range of 100ºC to 275ºC. However their reaction rates are pH dependent and sorption reactions have not been evaluated. While reactive tracer parameters have been measured in the lab, reactive tracers have not been extensively tested in the field. Thus, while reactive tracers appear to be a promising means of monitoring the thermal evolution of a geothermal reservoir, the concept has yet to be tested at the scale necessary for successful implementation, and tools for analyzing results of such tracer tests under the non-ideal conditions of an actual geothermal system have yet to be developed.
State Idaho
Objectives Provide a cost-effective means of monitoring the thermal evolution of EGS reservoirs, via periodic testing with suites of reactive and conservative tracers.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Idaho National Laboratory

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-PS36-09GO99017
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $1,133,000.00
Total Project Cost $1,133,000.00

Principal Investigator(s) Laurence Hull

Targets / Milestones The project consists of four tasks, which each end with a decision as to whether the task has led to a successful development.

- Development of the tools needed to plan and interpret reactive tracer tests
- Development of suitable tracers to cover a range of reservoir temperature and residence time conditions
- Testing the tools and tracers in a field setting to verify relevance to industry
- Project management and reporting

Location of Project Idaho Falls, ID

Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs