Novel Multidimensional Tracers for Geothermal Inter-Well Diagnostics Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Novel Multidimensional Tracers for Geothermal Inter-Well Diagnostics
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Component Research and Development/Analysis
Project Type / Topic 2 Tracers and Tracer Interpretation
Project Description The project will attempt to address this issue through theoretical, experimental, and industrial efforts to develop a matrix of smart geothermal tracers and the tracer interpretation tools, which will provide multidimensional information about inter-well connectivity, as well as surface porosity, surface fracture, and spacing of geothermal reservoirs.
State Colorado
Objectives Develop multidimensional geothermal tracer systems that possess potential to facilitate the usage and efficiency of current EPS development, as well as promote the overall utilization of geothermal energy sources, to diversify our Nation’s energy sources, and to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Power, Environmental and Energy Research Institute
Awardee Website
Partner 1 California Institute of Technology
Partner 2 Mt. Princeton Geothermal, LLC
Partner 3 BJ Energy Services

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000075
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $1,840,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $460,000.00
Total Project Cost $2,300,000.00

Principal Investigator(s) Yongchun Tang, Power, Environmental and Energy Research Institute
Other Principal Investigators Patrick Shuler, Power, Environmental and Energy Research Institute; William A. Goddard, Caltech; and Fredrick Henderson, Mt. Princeton Geothermal, LLC
Targets / Milestones - Combine experimental and theoretical methods to study tracer-rock interactions;

- Develop a series of unique tracer calibration and diagnostic methods;
- Develop fast-screening method to identify tracer candidates for laboratorial evaluations; and
- Collaboration of laboratorial and field-tested programs to validate the applicability of developed tracer compounds and to foresee the feasibility of commercialization.

Power Environmental and Energy Research Institute (PEER-I) will lead the project under close collaboration with Material & Process Simulation Center (MSC) at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to establish theoretical models for screening and identifying optimal tracer candidates, and to develop novel laboratorial test and diagnostic method programs to evaluate developed tracer compounds. Furthermore, PEER-I will work with industrial partners such as Mt. Princeton Geothermal LLC and BJ Energy Services to field test and validate the capabilities of the multidimensional tracer interpretation system, and to evaluate and foresee the eventual commercialization pathways.

Location of Project Nathrop, CO

Impacts If successful, the new tracers could provide fracture spacing, porosities, and migration distances.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs