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Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "H: Geo-Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019) | Viewed by 35116

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
James Watt School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G13 8QQ, UK
Interests: energy engineering; geothermal energy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Geothermal energy is a constant and independent form of renewable energy and plays a key role in the world's future energy balance. It can help countries become less dependent on energy imports and build a broader base in their future energy mix.

However, despite its significant potential, the total contribution of geothermal energy to global heating, cooling and power generation remains relatively small. There is therefore an urgent need to address technology-specific challenges to achieve faster growth and improving policies tackling pre-development risks for geothermal energy.

For this Special Issue, authors are invited to submit papers dealing with exploration in frontier environments, innovative engineering technologies and designs, hybrid solutions, cascade uses, complementarity between renewable sources, policy development projects and resource assessment best-practices. Articles presenting original research and real case studies are particularly encouraged.

This Special Issue will be dedicated to the memory of Professor Paul Younger, my predecessor as the University of Glasgow's Rankine Chair in the School of Engineering. At Energies, we wish to pay a tribute to his legacy in the field of energy engineering and sustainability.

Prof. Dr. Gioia Falcone
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Geothermal energy
  • Renewable energy
  • Geothermal exploration and production
  • Geothermal engineering
  • Energy sustainability

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 3210 KiB  
Article
A Novel Experimental Investigation of Cement Mechanical Properties with Application to Geothermal Wells
by Catalin Teodoriu, Mi Chin Yi and Saeed Salehi
Energies 2019, 12(18), 3426; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12183426 - 5 Sep 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2796
Abstract
Geothermal well integrity has proven to be of high importance, especially because the geothermal life span is expected to be longer than that of conventional oil and gas wells. Recent studies have demonstrated that cement-casing interfacial bonding is a classical well failure in [...] Read more.
Geothermal well integrity has proven to be of high importance, especially because the geothermal life span is expected to be longer than that of conventional oil and gas wells. Recent studies have demonstrated that cement-casing interfacial bonding is a classical well failure in such wells, but field measurements do not correlate with the simulations. We believe that this discrepancy is due to limitations of the simulation itself, which in most cases assumes a free movement of the casing after the interfacial bonding has been exceeded. Since the casing is cemented using a complex hardware package such as centralizer and other cementing components, the free movement of the casing is only possible when no-cement exists behind the casing. This paper proposes a novel experimental method to understand cement strength properties other than the standardized unconfined cement strength (UCS). The novel setup allows the measurement of interfacial bonding strength between cement and casing and the pure cement shear strength. The later becomes an important parameter as the interaction between casing couplings and cement will show. In the past, standard cement bending tests were designed to measure cement shear, but the value obtained from such tests is not relevant for the geothermal in situ casing-cement interaction, and thus the need for a new testing method arose. The new method is capable to mimic the interaction between the casing connection edges and the cement. We believe that the results presented within this paper will help engineers to validate their numerical simulations and to optimize the geothermal well design which will result in the increase of the well integrity for the life of the geothermal well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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21 pages, 6331 KiB  
Article
Surface and Groundwater Hydrochemistry of the Menengai Caldera Geothermal Field and Surrounding Nakuru County, Kenya
by Nelly Montcoudiol, Neil M. Burnside, Domokos Györe, Nicholas Mariita, Thecla Mutia and Adrian Boyce
Energies 2019, 12(16), 3131; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12163131 - 15 Aug 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5030
Abstract
In order to assess the sustainability and impact of production from geothermal reservoirs on hydrological systems, a thorough understanding of local and regional hydrogeological systematics is a prerequisite. The Menengai Caldera in the Kenya Great Rift Valley is one of the largest explored [...] Read more.
In order to assess the sustainability and impact of production from geothermal reservoirs on hydrological systems, a thorough understanding of local and regional hydrogeological systematics is a prerequisite. The Menengai Caldera in the Kenya Great Rift Valley is one of the largest explored geothermal fields in the country. This paper presents a hydrochemical investigation of the Menengai Caldera geothermal field and the ground and surface waters of the surrounding Nakuru County. Our results demonstrated a similar, sodium-alkaline dominated, ionic composition across all water types. Geothermal wells return the highest cation/anion concentrations and largely demonstrate a meteoric source from their δ18O and δ2H signature. Wells MW-09 (central part of the caldera), MW-18 (eastern part) and MW-20 (central part) showed a more evaporitic signature, closely matching with our own calculated Lake Evaporation Line, suggesting an increased mixing influence of Lake Nakuru waters. MW-09 also showed evidence of high-temperature oxygen isotopic exchange and significant water-rock interaction. Lake samples largely demonstrated seasonal shifts in ionic and isotopic values. Lake Nakuru ionic composition and isotopic values increased throughout the 12-month wet–dry–wet season sampling period. This correlated with a decrease in area which suggests a lessening of water inflow and facilitates increased evaporation. Groundwaters demonstrated clear evidence of mixing between meteoric, irrigation and lake waters. These observations enhanced the understanding of the hydrological system surrounding the Menengai Caldera and, when combined with future studies, will provide a powerful tool to assess the sustainability and impact of soon-to-be completed geothermal power production operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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16 pages, 3195 KiB  
Article
Power Production Estimates from Geothermal Resources by Means of Small-Size Compact Climeon Heat Power Converters: Case Studies from Portugal (Sete Cidades, Azores and Longroiva Spa, Mainland)
by António Trota, Pedro Ferreira, Luis Gomes, João Cabral and Peter Kallberg
Energies 2019, 12(14), 2838; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12142838 - 23 Jul 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4072
Abstract
Renewable forms of energy are increasingly penetrating the electricity market, particularly, geothermal energy. A wide range of resource temperatures and fluid quality are converted mostly using traditional binary power plants and, recently, using Climeon modular units. Portuguese natural geothermal resources are far from [...] Read more.
Renewable forms of energy are increasingly penetrating the electricity market, particularly, geothermal energy. A wide range of resource temperatures and fluid quality are converted mostly using traditional binary power plants and, recently, using Climeon modular units. Portuguese natural geothermal resources are far from precise estimations. Despite the parameter uncertainties, electric power resource estimations of two natural geothermal reservoirs are presented: a volcanic sourced heated high-enthalpy geothermal reservoir in Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island, Azores; and a low-enthalpy geothermal reservoir linked to a fractured zone in a granitic setting in Longroiva, in the northern part of the Portuguese mainland. Based on the volumetric method, we assessed the power potential of geothermal resources in Sete Cidades and Longroiva using a probabilistic methodology—Monte Carlo simulation. The average reserve estimations for Climeon module were 5.66 MWe and 0.64 MWe for Sete Cidades and Longroiva, respectively. This figure was by far higher when compared to traditional binary technology; those differences were mostly attributed to distinct conversions efficiency factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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18 pages, 3700 KiB  
Article
An Experimental and Numerical Case Study of Passive Building Cooling with Foundation Pile Heat Exchangers in Denmark
by Søren Erbs Poulsen, Maria Alberdi-Pagola, Davide Cerra and Anna Magrini
Energies 2019, 12(14), 2697; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12142697 - 15 Jul 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4016
Abstract
Technologies for energy-efficient cooling of buildings are in high demand due to the heavy CO2 footprint of traditional air conditioning methods. The ground source heat pump system (GSHP) installed at the Rosborg Gymnasium in Vejle (Denmark) uses foundation pile heat exchangers (energy [...] Read more.
Technologies for energy-efficient cooling of buildings are in high demand due to the heavy CO2 footprint of traditional air conditioning methods. The ground source heat pump system (GSHP) installed at the Rosborg Gymnasium in Vejle (Denmark) uses foundation pile heat exchangers (energy piles). Although designed for passive cooling, the GSHP is used exclusively for heating. In a five-week test during the summer of 2018, excess building heat was rejected passively to the energy piles and the ground. Measured energy efficiency ratios are 24–36 and the thermal comfort in conditioned rooms is improved significantly relative to unconditioned reference rooms. A simple model relating the available cooling power to conditioned room and ground temperatures is developed and calibrated to measured test data. Building energy simulation based estimates of the total cooling demand of the building are then compared to corresponding model calculations of the available cooling capacity. The comparison shows that passive cooling is able to meet the cooling demand of Rosborg Gymnasium except for 7–17 h per year, given that room temperatures are constrained to < 26 °C. The case study clearly demonstrates the potential for increasing thermal comfort during summer with highly efficient passive cooling by rejecting excess building heat to the ground. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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17 pages, 12463 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study on Temperature Change and Crack Expansion of High Temperature Granite under Different Cooling Shock Treatments
by Yan-Jun Shen, Xin Hou, Jiang-Qiang Yuan and Chun-Hu Zhao
Energies 2019, 12(11), 2097; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12112097 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3249
Abstract
It is valuable to observe the influence of different cooling methods on the exploitation of geothermal energy and breaking hard rocks in deep geo-engineering. In this work, the effects of different cooling shock treatments on high temperature granite are discussed. First, perforated 100-mm-side [...] Read more.
It is valuable to observe the influence of different cooling methods on the exploitation of geothermal energy and breaking hard rocks in deep geo-engineering. In this work, the effects of different cooling shock treatments on high temperature granite are discussed. First, perforated 100-mm-side cubic biotite adamellite samples were heated to four targeted temperatures (150 °C, 350 °C, 550 °C, and 750 °C). Then, anti-freeze solutions were compounded to produce the different cooling shock effects (20 °C, 0 °C, and −30 °C) by adjusting the calcium chloride solution concentration, and these anti-freeze solutions were injected rapidly into the holes to reflect the rapid cooling shock of high-temperature granite. Finally, the temperature variations and crack expansions of high-temperature granite under different cooling shock treatments were analyzed and the cooling shock cracking mechanism is discussed briefly. The main results can be summarized as: (1) The high temperature granite exposed to the cooling shock exhibited a "rapid cooling + rapid heating" change during the first 5 min. Due to the cooling shock, the total temperature was significantly lower than the natural cooling until 120 min later. (2) Below 350 °C, the macrocracking effect was not significant, and the sample reflected a certain range of uniform microcracks around the injection hole, while the macrocracks tended to be obvious above 550 °C. Moreover, as the refrigerant temperature decreased, the local distribution characteristics of the macrocracking became more obvious. (3) Based on the analysis of the dynamic heat balance, the undulation and width of the cracks around the heat balance zone were stable, but the numbers and widths of cracks near the hole wall and the side of the sample were visibly increased. This study extends our understanding of the influence of cooling shock on granite cracking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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14 pages, 4068 KiB  
Article
Combined Power and Freshwater Generation Driven by Liquid-Dominated Geothermal Sources
by Guopeng Yu and Zhibin Yu
Energies 2019, 12(8), 1562; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12081562 - 24 Apr 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3265
Abstract
In order to meet the twin challenges of energy shortage and water scarcity in eastern Africa, this paper looks at the feasibilities of using a geothermal water source to produce both fresh water and electricity. In this research, three geothermally sourced combined power [...] Read more.
In order to meet the twin challenges of energy shortage and water scarcity in eastern Africa, this paper looks at the feasibilities of using a geothermal water source to produce both fresh water and electricity. In this research, three geothermally sourced combined power and freshwater generation systems are investigated and compared. Two of them are based on traditional power generation systems, including a steam system (SS) and a single-flash system (SFS). The third one is a trilateral flash system (TFS) with a two-phase turbine, which processes the total geofluid flow from the wellhead directly. The power generation potential as well as the condensation process, which produces desalinized freshwater, are investigated for three systems under two typical liquid-dominated well conditions in the Aluto Langano geothermal field in Ethiopia. Results indicate that, suitable total flow turbine efficiency enables the trilateral flash system to be comparable with the steam system and the single-flash system regarding the power generation, especially when the well flow is more liquid dominated. Moreover, freshwater generation is a distinct advantage of the trilateral flash system, and its freshwater output can reach up to be 2.7 times higher than those of traditional systems, making it a promising solution for combined power and freshwater generation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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15 pages, 6142 KiB  
Article
3D Imaging of Geothermal Faults from a Vertical DAS Fiber at Brady Hot Spring, NV USA
by Whitney Trainor-Guitton, Antoine Guitton, Samir Jreij, Hayden Powers and Bane Sullivan
Energies 2019, 12(7), 1401; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12071401 - 11 Apr 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4233
Abstract
In March 2016, arguably the most ambitious 4D (3D space + over time) active-source seismic survey for geothermal exploration in the U.S. was acquired at Brady Natural Laboratory, outside Fernley, Nevada. The four-week experiment included 191 vibroseis source locations, and approximately 130 m [...] Read more.
In March 2016, arguably the most ambitious 4D (3D space + over time) active-source seismic survey for geothermal exploration in the U.S. was acquired at Brady Natural Laboratory, outside Fernley, Nevada. The four-week experiment included 191 vibroseis source locations, and approximately 130 m of distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) in a vertical well, located at the southern end of the survey area. The imaging of the geothermal faults is done with reverse time migration of the DAS data for both P-P and P-S events in order to generate 3D models of reflectivity, which can identify subsurface fault locations. Three scenarios of receiver data are explored to investigate the reliability of the reflectivity models obtained: (1) Migration of synthetic P-P and P-S DAS data, (2) migration of the observed field DAS data and (3) migration of pure random noise to better assess the validity of our results. The comparisons of the 3D reflectivity models from these three scenarios confirm that sections of three known faults at Brady produce reflected energy observed by the DAS. Two faults that are imaged are ~1 km away from the DAS well; one of these faults (middle west-dipping) is well-constructed for over 400 m along the fault’s strike, and 300 m in depth. These results confirm that the DAS data, together with an imaging engine such as reverse time migration, can be used to position important geothermal features such as faults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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16 pages, 1909 KiB  
Article
Transient Simulation of Geothermal Combined Heat and Power Generation for a Resilient Energetic and Economic Evaluation
by Tim Eller, Florian Heberle and Dieter Brüggemann
Energies 2019, 12(5), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12050894 - 7 Mar 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4357
Abstract
Geothermal power plants based on the organic Rankine cycle (ORC) are used to convert the thermal power of brine into electricity. The efficiency and profitability of these power plants can be increased by an additional heat supply. The purpose of this study is [...] Read more.
Geothermal power plants based on the organic Rankine cycle (ORC) are used to convert the thermal power of brine into electricity. The efficiency and profitability of these power plants can be increased by an additional heat supply. The purpose of this study is to evaluate different combined heat and power (CHP) concepts for geothermal applications by thermodynamic and economic considerations. Therefore, a dynamic simulation model of a double-stage ORC is developed to perform annual return simulations. The transient ORC model is validated in a wide range by operational data of an existing power plant in the German Molasse Basin. A district heating system is considered and the corresponding heat load profiles are derived from a real geothermal driven heating network. For CHP, parallel and combined configurations are considered. The validation of the transient model is satisfying with a correlation coefficient of 0.99 between the simulation and real power plant data. The results show that additional heat extraction leads to a higher exergetic efficiency and a higher profitability. The exergetic efficiency and the profitability are increased by up to 7.9% and 16.1%, respectively. The combined concept shows a slightly better performance than the parallel configuration. The efficiency can be increased by up to 1.3%. In economic terms, for CHP the annual return can be increased by at least 2,500,000 €. In principle, the dynamic model shows reliable results for high power gradients. This enables an investigation of geothermal ORC models for the reserve market in future works. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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19 pages, 4283 KiB  
Article
Optimization Study on Fluids for the Gravity-Driven Organic Power Cycle
by Weixiu Shi and Lisheng Pan
Energies 2019, 12(4), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12040732 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3015
Abstract
The organic Rankine cycle (ORC) is efficient in using low-grade heat energy, while low pump efficiency and high pump leakage are usually serious problems. A gravity-driven organic power cycle (GDOPC) uses gravity instead of a pump to pressurize working fluid and has the [...] Read more.
The organic Rankine cycle (ORC) is efficient in using low-grade heat energy, while low pump efficiency and high pump leakage are usually serious problems. A gravity-driven organic power cycle (GDOPC) uses gravity instead of a pump to pressurize working fluid and has the potential to avoid problems associated with the pump. A theoretical method is used to study the performance and suitability of several fluids for GDOPC. The results show that the flow efficiency in high vertical pipes and the pump efficiency determine whether GDOPC gives better performance than ORC or not. When R245fa is selected as working fluid and evaporating temperature is 62 °C, specific energy of GDOPC (flow efficiency is 80%) is 2.5% higher than that of ORC (pump efficiency is 60%). The improvement degree of specific energy and the liquid column height increase with increasing evaporating temperature. R1234yf and R227ea give good performance with specific energy of 4.84 kJ/kg and 4.82 kJ/kg, respectively, while they need a liquid column as much as 76.55 m and 45.65 m, respectively. Although R365mfc and cyclopentane do not give the most excellent cycle performance, they need liquid column height as low as 9.04 m and 10.88 m, respectively. Fluid with low saturated pressure and high density may need low liquid column height and has the advantage to be used in practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Geothermal Energy Exploration and Production)
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