Simulating Complex Fracture Systems in Geothermal Reservoirs Using an Explicitly Coupled Hydro-Geomechanical Model

Low permeability geothermal reservoirs can be stimulated by hydraulic fracturing to create Enhanced (or Engineered) Geothermal Systems (EGS) with higher permeability and improved heat transfer to increase heat production. In this paper, we document our effort to develop a numerical simulator with explicit geomechanics-discrete flow network coupling by utilizing and further advancing the simulation capabilities of the Livermore Distinct Element Code (LDEC). The important modules of the simulator include an explicit finite element solid solver, a finite volume method flow solver, a joint model using the combined FEM-DEM capability of LDEC, and an adaptive remeshing module. The numerical implementation is verified against the classical KGD model. The interaction between two fractures with simple geometry and the stimulation of a relatively complex existing fracture network under different in-situ stress conditions are studied with the simulator.
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DOE Project Name: Stimulation of Complex Fracture Systems in Low Pressure Reservoirs for Development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems
DOE Project Number: AID 19979
DOE Project Lead: Eric Hass
Last Updated: over a year ago
Data from January, 2011
Submitted Feb 7, 2013

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



Charles Carrigan
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Scott M. Johnson
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Pengcheng Fu
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


geothermal, rock mechanics, hydraulic fracturing, enhanced geothermal system, egs, simulation, hydro, Hydrofracking, flow, model, modeling, reservoir, fracking


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