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Demonstration of soft stimulation treatments of geothermal reservoirs

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DESTRESS (Demonstration of soft stimulation treatments of geothermal reservoirs)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2021-05-31

DESTRESS is a Horizon 2020 supported programme aiming to demonstrate methods of EGS (enhanced geothermal systems) and thereby expanding knowledge and providing solutions for a more economical, sustainable and environmentally responsible exploitation of underground heat. EGS allow a widespread use of the enormous untapped geothermal energy potential. DESTRESS improves the understanding of technological, business and societal opportunities and risks related to geothermal energy.
The concepts explored are based on experiences in previous projects (e.g. GEISER), on scientific progress and developments in other fields, mainly the oil and gas sector. Recently developed stimulation methods are adapted to geothermal needs, applied to new geothermal sites and prepared for the market uptake. The main focus lays on stimulation treatments with minimized environmental hazard, which address site-specific geological requirements. The overall objective is to develop best practices in creating a reservoir with increased transmissivity, sustainable productivity and a minimized level of induced seismicity. Existing and new project’s test sites, pilot and demonstration facilities were chosen to demonstrate the DESTRESS concept.
DESTRESS assembles an international consortium involving major knowledge institutes and key industry from Europe and South Korea to guarantee the increase in EGS-technology performance and accelerated market penetration.
Different works and important preparations for operational activities started in all work packages (WPs) at the same time and proceeded the project considerably in the first 18 months.The current overall status of DESTRESS can be summarised as “project on track” and summaried details of past activities are described for each WP below.

WP1: coordination of different activities (organisation of internal meetings, general assemblies, technical workshops), supervision and performance of the legal, financial and administrative issues (e.g. submission of the first DESTRESS´amendment in April 2017 and due deliverables).

WP2: As WP2 aims to put a special focus on the integration of risk factors, the identification and prioritization of risk factors played an important role. Together with first steps of model development, the results of these steps were published in deliverable 2.1. Based on a clear definition of frame conditions and the methodological approach, the model development was intensified. Thereby considerable improvement was made in terms of power plant technology. For the power provision a running component model is available that will be integrated into the overall techno-economic model.

WP3: In this WP a literature survey of risk identification related to operational stimulation was carried out and a seismic risk assessment using a specific workflow was started based on actual projects conducted in Europe. In addition, several acceptability studies were implemented in Europe in relation to specific geothermal projects. Moreover, a non-standard risk monitoring incl. slow deformation (GPS, InSar) and low cost real-time building monitoring around active geothermal plants were investigated. And, preparation of real-time monitoring capabilities for carrying out vulnerability studies as well as some field and remote surveys for identifying the best building started. Furthermore, the permission process with local population for approving the deployment and installation of sensors around the operational plants of Soultz and Rittershoffen was launched.

WP4: the progress in this WP was made, especially in terms of preparing the stimulation treatment for the site in Klaipeda, delivering the first part of the report on reservoir performance in terms of sustainability at the French site and planning the chemical injection tests at the Soultz-sous-Forêts.

WP5: the most important result from this WP is the first hydraulic soft stimulation treatment in Pohang, that happened on DESTRESS in August 2017 and had been in preparation since the start of the project. Other progress: Efficiency of the hydraulic treatment requires its proper placement. Applying injection at a specific location requires an efficient zonal isolation technique. Technique available on the shelf are being tested in task 5.1; Monitoring on the treatment downhole is the topic of task 5.2. The installation of a downhole monitoring system to collect data during the stimulation, and later during the operation of the well is extremely challenging in these wells. Cyclic treatment (stimulating using cyclic pressure patterns) is potentially a way of achieving similar hydraulic results while decreasing the risk of induced seismicity; Development of theoretical basis and models for that innovative technology and of the tools for reservoir creation modelling and analysis and to monitor and anticipate induced seismic events.

WP6: two milestones (MS15, MS16) referring to an overview on potential stimulation methods and generic monitoring designs for the demonstration sites selected for DESTRESS were submitted and a WP6-kick off meeting was organised in December 2016. Based on discussions with the participants contributing to the individual tasks, workplans for the different tasks have been prepared and updated. The first progress was presented by the task leaders at the 2nd General Assembly in Klaipeda.

WP7: timely reaching of milestones MS18, MS19, MS20, MS21 and MS22, submission of required deliverables D7.1 D7.2 D7.6 and implementation of numerous tasks e.g. set-up of an internal workspace; design, launch and updating of the project website; drafting internal and external newsletters; implementation of site access programmes; Launch of best practice series.
Replicability: DESTRESS concept takes into account the common and specific issues of different sites and several geological settings covering mainly granites and sandstones among other rock types, representative for large parts of Europe, and provides a generally applicable workflow for productivity enhancement measures. Furthermore, the project demonstrates ways to regain site´s productivity by EGS methods, which especially will be of benefit for companies operating sites with damaged reservoir formations. All the steps included in the project´s approach are designed to be transferrable to other sites, such that the concepts can become the basis for a standardized procedure in the development of EGS projects.

Socio-economics: The risk assessment process executed here delivers a reliable, scientific basis for the evaluation of risks in soft stimulation. From a social point of view public acceptance can be improved as risks are identified and mitigation measures defined. For an investor, positive and negative variations of income correlated with risks of stimulation can be defined statistically so that risks can be integrated in management decisions. Good practices for applying soft stimulation treatments and their specific costs will be available for the European geothermal industry. The goal is to reduce life cycle costs of energy or heat and to receive an estimate for the required investment and the resulting benefit of the treatment.

Environment: DESTRESS intends to optimize stimulation with minimised environmental impacts such as seismic events or pollution of groundwater reservoirs.
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