Sedimentary Geothermal Feasibility in Nevada, Western Utah, Colorado, and the Gulf Coast Region of Texas Final Report
The objectives of this project were to (1) perform a literature review of sedimentary geothermal resources, (2) identify data sources and develop data-collection methodologies that characterize selected resources, (3) screen sedimentary basins and formations for sedimentary geothermal potential, and (4) evaluate the technical feasibility of one or more selected locations.
Numerous publications have characterized geothermal resources within sedimentary basins. A literature search reviewed publications describing resources located in Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The most attractive resources have high temperature gradients, low drilling costs, and reservoir permeabilities greater than 10 millidarcies (mD). Prospects in Colorado, Nevada, Texas, and Utah exhibit attractive characteristics and were chosen for further analysis.
Sedimentary resources in Nevada and Utah are most attractive, followed by tested resources in Texas and untested resources in Colorado. The identified resources in Wyoming and Louisiana had lower geothermal gradients and were not evaluated. Reservoir modeling and techno-economic analysis were performed at Marys River Basin - North in Nevada. Geothermal energy production at this location is expected to have a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) ranging between 10 and 20 cents/kWh. Additional work may result in lower LCOE estimates at this location and at other attractive prospects in these three regions.
Heat flow within three Colorado sedimentary basins reviewed as part of this study was calculated in targeted studies by the Colorado Geologic Survey and Colorado School of Mines. These calculations are based on bottom-hole temperature datasets with significant limitations and some variability but produce values consistently higher than the global continental average of 65 mW/m2for all three basins. Heat flow in the Raton Basin is the highest; however, permeability measurements from specific sedimentary formations with high heat flow have not been obtained.
Promising formations for sedimentary geothermal systems were found in all three regions studied - Nevada-Utah, Colorado, and Texas.
DOE Project Number: FY20 AOP 3131
DOE Project Lead: Mike Weathers
Submitted Jun 30, 2020
National Renewable Energy Laboratory