Multiparameter Fiber Optic Sensing System for Monitoring Enhanced Geothermal Systems Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Multiparameter Fiber Optic Sensing System for Monitoring Enhanced Geothermal Systems
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Component Research and Development/Analysis
Project Type / Topic 2 High-Temperature Downhole Tools
Project Description The multidisciplinary team, consisting of participants from GE, Qorex LLC, AFL Telecommunications and Sandia National Labs, has a strong record of successful harsh environment sensor technology development and will design and validate the reliability of a suite of distributed temperature, strain, vibration and precision point pressure fiber-based sensors. During the first year, the program will demonstrate fiber and sensor subsystem reliability in the presence of hydrogen at 374°C and 220 bar, which is critical to acceptance of this technology in EGS. Based on these results, a go/no-go decision will be made to complete any remaining development and proceed to prototype a high temperature cable which integrates these subsystems onto a single tool string to facilitate field deployment.

Rigorous testing of state-of-the-art optical fibers will be performed for use in reliability models. Raman DTS, distributed Brillouin temperature and strain sensing (DTSS), distributed pressure fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) and coherent Rayleigh optical time domain reflectometry (COTDR) for distributed vibration sensing will be evaluated to determine their suitability for EGS. A precision, high temperature fiber-interrogated silicon MEMS pressure sensor will also be developed. Multi-fiber cabling technologies will be utilized for tool string design and validation.

State New York
Objectives The overall program goal is the development and evaluation of fiber optic sensing technology to enable real time, multi-parameter monitoring of geothermal wells in the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) lifecycle phases of site characterization, reservoir development and energy production. The four objectives are:

-Demonstrate reliability of optical fibers and distributed temperature, strain and vibration sensing subsystems for EGS at 374°C and 220 bar in the presence of hydrogen -Develop a high accuracy point pressure gauge and distributed pressure sensor to meet EGS requirements -Integrate multiple sensor subsystems into a single field-ready cable -Deliver a plan for field deployment tests of this technology

Awardees (Company / Institution) General Electric Company
Awardee Website
Partner 1 GE Sensing
Partner 2 Qorex, LLC
Partner 3 AFL Telecommunications, LLC
Partner 4 Sandia National Laboratories

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000075
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $2,085,090.00
Awardee Cost Share $567,696.00
Total Project Cost $2,652,786.00

Principal Investigator(s) David Vernooy, GE Global Research

Targets / Milestones -Demonstration that fiber "darkening" has been understood and resolved for fibers and sensing systems when exposed to 374°C and 220 bar

-Development of novel distributed and point pressure fiber sensing technology for EGS -A prototype of a single field-ready cable integrating the sensor sub-systems -A clear roadmap through to field validation

Location of Project Niskayuna, NY

Impacts If successful, the system would provide accurate, real time temperature, pressure, strain, and vibration sensing in high temperature EGS environments.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs