Silica Gel Behavior Under Different EGS Chemical and Thermal Conditions: An Experimental Study
In enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) the reservoir permeability is often enhanced or created using hydrofracking. In hydrofracking, high fluid pressures are applied to confined zones in the subsurface usually using packers to fracture the host rock. This enhances rock permeability and therefore conductive heat transfer to the circulating geothermal fluid (e.g. water or supercritical carbon dioxide). The ultimate goal is to increase or improve the thermal energy production from the subsurface by either optimal designs of injection and production wells or by altering the fracture permeability to create different zones of circulation that can be exploited in geothermal heat extraction. Moreover, hydrofracking can lead to the creation of undesirable short-circuits or fast flow-paths between the injection and extraction wells leading to a short thermal residence time, low heat recovery, and thus a short-life of the EGS.