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 worldwide. However, most of this heat is stored in deep formations with low permeability. Reservoir engineering methods that improve subsurface fluid pathways are therefore essential to utilize this potential. Because these methods are still under development, they often do not yield the required hydraulic performance and pose the risk of fluid-induced seismicity. This is the reason for the limited share of geothermal in today’s energy-mix. The objective of the Helmholtz Young Investigator Group ARES is the development and verification of advanced geothermal reservoir engineering concepts for a controlled and commercially viable development of deep geothermal energy as a local base load energy source for district heating in urban areas. The research focus is on sustainable productivity enhancement with reduced seismic risk. To achieve this goal a multi-scale approach is pursued. That includes laboratory, mine and field scale experiments in different geological settings, accompanied by theoretical considerations, modeling and upscaling.
- Controlled development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems in low permeability rock
- Development of advanced reservoir engineering concepts for safe, efficient and sustainable injectivity and productivity improvement of (existing) geothermal wells
- Development of environmental risk mitigation methods with focus on injection-induced seismicity
- Laboratory hydraulic fracturing and hydro shearing experiments to investigate fracture growth, shear slip and related permeability changes and induced seismicity characteristics
- Planning, preparation and analysis of mine scale hydraulic stimulation experiments
- Planning, preparation, execution and analysis of field scale hydraulic stimulation experiments with focus on (cyclic) soft stimulation treatments, multi-stage stimulation and adaptive treatment designs
- Numerical and analytical modelling of coupled THM(C) reservoir processes during geothermal reservoir development and operation, hydraulic fracturing, hydraulic shearing, and related permeability changes and induced seismicity