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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Packer Locations on Downhole Electric Heater Performance: Experimental Test and Economic Analysis

by Wei Guo 1,2,3, Zhendong Wang 1,2,3,*, Youhong Sun 2,3,4, Xiaoshu Lü 1,2,5,6, Yuan Wang 1,2,3, Sunhua Deng 1,2,3 and Qiang Li 1,2,3,*
1
College of Construction Engineering, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
2
National-Local Joint Engineering Laboratory of In-situ Conversion, Drilling and Exploitation Technology for Oil Shale, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
3
Key Lab of Ministry of Natural Resources for Drilling and Exploitation Technology in Complex Conditions, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
4
China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
5
Department of Electrical Engineering and Energy Technology, University of Vaasa, FIN-65200 Vaasa, Finland
6
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, School of Engineering, Aalto University, P.O. Box 12100, FIN-02015 Espoo, Finland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(2), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13020377
Received: 8 November 2019 / Revised: 26 December 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 13 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Storage and Application)
A downhole electric heater, which reduces heat loss along a heat insulation pipe, is a key apparatus used to ignite oil shale underground. Downhole heaters working together with packers can improve the heating efficiency of high-temperature gases, while different packer locations will directly affect the external air temperature of the heater shell and, subsequently, the performance and total cost of the downhole heaters. A device was developed to simulate the external conditions of heater shells at different packer locations. Then, the effects of external air temperature on the performance of a downhole heater with pitches of 50, 160, and 210 mm were experimentally studied. In the test, results indicated that the heater with a packer at its outlet had an accelerated heating rate in the initial stage and decreased temperature in the final stage. Additionally, the lowest heating rod surface temperature and highest comprehensive performance were achieved with minimal irreversible loss and lower total cost when using a downhole electric heater with a packer set at its outlet. In addition, the downhole electric heater with a helical pitch of 50 mm and a packer at its outlet was more effective than other schemes in the high Reynolds number region. These findings are beneficial for shortening the oil production time in oil shale in situ pyrolysis and heavy oil thermal recovery. View Full-Text
Keywords: oil shale; in situ pyrolysis; packer; downhole electric heater; economic analysis oil shale; in situ pyrolysis; packer; downhole electric heater; economic analysis
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Guo, W.; Wang, Z.; Sun, Y.; Lü, X.; Wang, Y.; Deng, S.; Li, Q. Effects of Packer Locations on Downhole Electric Heater Performance: Experimental Test and Economic Analysis. Energies 2020, 13, 377.

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