Development of an Advanced Stimulation/Production Predictive Simulator for Enhanced Geothermal Systems Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Development of an Advanced Stimulation/Production Predictive Simulator for Enhanced Geothermal Systems
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Component Research and Development/Analysis
Project Type / Topic 2 Stimulation Prediction Models
Project Description The new simulator will provide a more complete description of the fracture network created by hydraulic stimulation of the EGS system than any existing technique. Since the simulator will also incorporate an energy equation and the effect of temperature changes on stress and rock deformation (and hence porosity and permeability enhancement), it will be equally useful in simulating the long term response of the EGS system to cold water injection and hot water production.

The simulator will first be verified by modeling the hydraulic simulation experiments that have already been performed at the Soultz EGS site in France. Subsequently, the simulator will be used to model one or more experiments in the United States.

State California
Objectives Develop and verify an advanced stimulation/production predictive model for enhanced geothermal systems.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Science Applications International Corporation
Awardee Website
Partner 1 GEOWATT AG

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000075
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $1,025,953.00
Awardee Cost Share $256,489.00
Total Project Cost $1,282,442.00

Principal Investigator(s) John W. Pritchett, SAIC

Targets / Milestones Develop a three-dimensional (3-D) simulator to model the following aspects of stimulation and long-term fluid injection and production:

- Perturbation of natural stress field, pore pressure, and formation temperature due to the injection of cold water
- Shear slippage (and consequent increase in fracture aperture) along “fracture patches”, and increase in fracture aperture due to changes in the effective normal stress
- Linking of “fracture patches” to form a connected volume, and reversible and irreversible changes in permeability
- Thermal shrinkage associated with a decrease in temperature, along with any resulting increase in fracture volume and formation permeability.

The 3-D simulator will also include a provision for both conservative and non-conservative tracers. In addition, it is proposed to couple at least some of the existing SAIC geophysical postprocessors (e.g. self-potential) to the 3-D simulator. Results of tracer tests and self-potential measurements, if available, can also be used to calibrate the EGS reservoir model, and provide more reliable predictions of the response of the reservoir to long term injection and production.

Location of Project San Diego, CA

Impacts If successful, this project will deliver a model for the qualitative analysis of the stimulated reservoir's volume for information on adequate fracture connectivity or permeability for commercial operations and reservoir sustainability.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs