KEM15: Risk of Seismicity due to Cooling Effects in Geothermal Systems

Time Frame: 2020-2022

Funding: Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimat NL

Technical Projekt Management:   Arno Zang 

Personnel:  Hannes Hofmann    (GFZ, Modelling team),  Mauro Cacace    (GFZ, Modelling team),  Gergö Hutka    (GFZ, Modelling team), Onno Dijkstra (Fugro, Contract Management), Beau Whitney (Fugro, 3D Geologic team), Cedric Duvail (Fugro, 3D Geologic team), Ramon Secanell (Fugro, Seismic Hazard), Serge Shapiro (Consultant, Q/A Review)

Cooperations: Fugro NL, GFZ

One of today’s greatest challenges is the energy transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon renewables. Geothermal energy is a local solution for base load heat and electricity supply. As such it has the potential to provide safe and clean energy for the growing urban areas in the Netherlands and worldwide. In the Netherlands geothermal energy is conventionally extracted from deep sedimentary aquifers (Willems et al. 2017) that may be intersected by fractures and faults. While permeable fractures and fault zones may serve as fluid pathways, thereby improving fluid production from and injection to a reservoir, they also pose the risk of hosting seismic events caused by geothermal operations. The risk of induced seismicity is a major factor that currently hinders the widespread development of geothermal energy. Injection-induced seismic risk must thus be better understood to develop methods and frameworks to assess and mitigate the risk of larger induced seismic events.

Mission of the teams:

  • Development of better tools to estimate the increase of the seismic hazard produced by conventional and enhanced geothermal systems
  • Improve our understanding of geo-mechanical effects due to cold water injection into geothermal systems
  • Project intends to provide “reliable predictions” about seismic hazard increase produced by geothermal fields and this information could be useful for public communication and public acceptance purposes