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Energies 2015, 8(6), 5800-5827; doi:10.3390/en8065800

Thermo-Mechanical Simulations of Rock Behavior in Underground Coal Gasification Show Negligible Impact of Temperature-Dependent Parameters on Permeability Changes

GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, Potsdam 14473, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mehrdad Massoudi
Received: 27 April 2015 / Accepted: 9 June 2015 / Published: 16 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Coal Combustion and Gasification)
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Abstract

A coupled thermo-mechanical model has been developed to assess permeability changes in the vicinity of an underground coal gasification (UCG) reactor resulting from excavation and thermo-mechanical effects. Thereto, we consider a stepwise UCG reactor excavation based on a pre-defined coal consumption rate and dynamic thermal boundary conditions. Simulation results demonstrate that thermo-mechanical rock behavior is mainly driven by the thermal expansion coefficient, thermal conductivity, tensile strength and elastic modulus of the surrounding rock. A comparison between temperature-dependent and temperature-independent parameters applied in the simulations indicates notable variations in the distribution of total displacements in the UCG reactor vicinity related to thermal stress, but only negligible differences in permeability changes. Hence, temperature-dependent thermo-mechanical parameters have to be considered in the assessment of near-field UCG impacts only, while far-field models can achieve a higher computational efficiency by using temperature-independent thermo-mechanical parameters. Considering the findings of the present study in the large-scale assessment of potential environmental impacts of underground coal gasification, representative coupled simulations based on complex 3D large-scale models become computationally feasible. View Full-Text
Keywords: underground coal gasification; thermo-mechanical modeling; numerical simulation; permeability changes; environmental impacts underground coal gasification; thermo-mechanical modeling; numerical simulation; permeability changes; environmental impacts
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Otto, C.; Kempka, T. Thermo-Mechanical Simulations of Rock Behavior in Underground Coal Gasification Show Negligible Impact of Temperature-Dependent Parameters on Permeability Changes. Energies 2015, 8, 5800-5827.

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