GFZ German research centre for geo sciences

"Geosciences 2023 Best Paper Award" for GFZ scientists

Mrityunjay Singh and Ingo Sass were honored for their outstanding publication on the optimal planning of geothermal systems.

Dr. Mrityunjay Singh and Prof. Ingo Sass from the GFZ section Geoenergy together with Dr. Saeed Mahmoodpour and Dr. Kristian Bär from Technical University Darmstadt were awarded for their outstanding scientific publication. When awarding the prize, the scientific journal's prize committee primarily considers the originality and significance of the contributions, but also factors such as citations and downloads. The publication entitled "Impact of Well Placement in the Fractured Geothermal Reservoirs Based on Available Discrete Fractured System" was selected from a total of 377 scientific articles published in Geosciences.

Efficient exploitation of geothermal potential

The aim of the award-winning publication and research was to optimize the placement of injection and production wells in a given geological setting in such a way that geothermal energy production can be maximized. The placement of wells is generally one of the most complicated and expensive procedures. Corresponding fractured reservoir simulations are associated with high computational cost, which made it difficult to develop a field-scale investigation.

The location of the injection well in relation to the production well ultimately determines the flow rate that determines heat extraction from the ground. In fact, there is an infinite number of locations where an injection well can be placed when planning an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS). Two aspects are always essential in the selection process: One challenge is to ensure that the fractures created by the injection well, as well as those naturally present, are sufficiently interconnected to ensure a high fluid flow rate with a low-pressure difference. Furthermore, the residence time of the fluid in the fractures needs to be increased so that sufficient heat exchange is possible and the heat can be optimally extracted from the subsurface.

With different well positions, but the same well spacing and geological characteristics, the scientists observed an almost tenfold difference between the final amount of heat extraction.

The scientists were able to show the importance of fracture connectivity and density near the wellbores. Thanks to their published research results, the search for the optimal position of the production well can be reduced to the high-density fracture area in the future, which makes the optimization process computationally efficient and economical.

Original study: Saeed Mahmoodpour, Mrityunjay Singh, Kristian Bär and Ingo Sass (2022): Impact of Well Placement in the Fractured Geothermal Reservoirs Based on Available Discrete Fractured System". Geosciences 2022, 12(1), 19;

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