The efficiency of geothermal plants depends heavily on the properties of the fluids that transfer heat between the geosphere and the technical components of a power plant. Chemical or physical processes leading to precipitation, corrosion or degassing can have serious consequences for power plant operation and economic efficiency. The European project REFLECT, launched at GFZ in early January and led by Simona Regenspurg , Section 4.8 Geoenergy, aims to prevent these problems in advance rather than to remedy them.
The fluid properties are often insufficiently defined, as in-situ sampling as well as measurements under extremely hot or extremely saline conditions are hardly possible so far. As a result, there are large uncertainties in current model predictions. REFLECT addresses this by collecting new, high-quality data in critical areas.
The approach includes modern sampling techniques, the measurement of fluid properties under laboratory and in-situ conditions and thus the precise determination of the most important parameters that control precipitation and corrosion processes. At the GFZ, extensive laboratory investigations are carried out in the fields of fluid physics and organic geochemistry. The fluids sampled and simulated in the laboratory cover a wide range of salinity and temperature, including those from enhanced and superhot geothermal systems.
The data will be incorporated into a European atlas of geothermal fluids and into prediction models that will allow to adapt the operating conditions and the design of the power plants. Recommendations derived from these models will contribute to a sustainable and reliable operation of geothermal plants.
REFLECT is funded within the European Horizon 2020 programme. The consortium consists of 14 partners from nine European countries.