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Criteria and geological setting for the generic geothermal underground research laboratory, GEOLAB

Schill, E.; Meixner, J.; Meller, C.; Grimm, M.; Grimmer, J.C.; Stober, I.; Kohl, T.



Abstract (englisch): High flow rate injection and related hydromechanical interaction are the most important factors in reservoir development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). GeoLaB, a new generic geothermal underground research laboratory (URL), is proposed for controlled high flow rate experiments (CHFE) to address limited comprehension of coupled processes connected to EGS reservoir flow conditions. As analogue for typical EGS development, CHFE require specific hydromechanical conditions including a connected fracture network in crystalline basement rock, sufficient hydraulic fracture transmissivities, a strike-slip to normal faulting tectonic regime, controllable hydraulic boundary conditions, and hydrothermal alteration fracture fillings that improve conditions for hydromechanical interaction. With the aim to identify most appropriate areas for future site selection, four criteria have been established based on the EGS reference site of Soultz. Two URLs in crystalline basement worldwide approximate the requirements of a new generic GeoLaB and may be used for accompanying experimentation. Besides favourable geological, hydraulic, and stress conditions, the vicinity to long-term EGS production favours the southern Black Forest as potential region for GeoLaB. Therefore, an exemplary site assessment has been carried out at “Wilhelminenstollen” in the southern Black Forest (Germany). New remote sensing, hydrochemical, and geophysical analyses as well as reactivation potential, and stress modelling were added to complement existing geological and hydrogeological information. At this site, reactivation potential analysis reveals two local maxima prone for shear reactivation as strike-slip faults. The highest lineament density is observed for the N110°E strike direction that is associated with both slip and dilation tendency maxima. Clay minerals occur in fractures and the matrix. Local, partly water-bearing fractures, when partly filled with ore minerals, were connected to veins in the tunnel using shallow geophysical methods. Hydrochemical data reveal infiltration of the tunnel water from at least 500 m above the tunnel. The results suggest a crystalline basement with a fracture network that is regionally connected and water-conducting. Hydraulic conductivity in the southern Black Forest granite is estimated to amount to about 4.5·10−8 m s−1 at 500 m depth. The hydraulic boundary conditions exclude unknown drainage. Analyses of the influence of topography on orientation and magnitude of the maximum stress indicate a minimum overburden of about 500 m for regional reactivation to be valid. In conclusion, the southern Black Forest and in particular “Wilhelminenstollen” offers favourable condition for CHFE. Final decision on the GeoLaB site is to be drawn from forthcoming exploration wells.


Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Angewandte Geowissenschaften (AGW)
Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung (INE)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Jahr 2016
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator DOI: 10.1186/s40517-016-0049-5
ISSN: 2195-9706
URN: urn:nbn:de:swb:90-577150
KITopen ID: 1000057715
HGF-Programm 35.14.01; LK 01
Erschienen in Geothermal Energy
Band 4
Heft 1
Seiten 4:7
Schlagworte Geothermal underground research laboratory, Fractured crystalline basement, Black forest, GeoLaB
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