An analytical thermohydraulic model for discretely fractured geothermal reservoirs
Abstract In discretely fractured reservoirs such as those found in Enhanced/Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS), knowledge of the fracture network is important in understanding the thermal hydraulics, i.e., how the fluid flows and the resulting temporal evolution of the subsurface temperature. The purpose of this study was to develop an analytical model of the fluid flow and heat transport in a discretely fractured network that can be used for a wide range of modeling applications and serve as an alternative analysis tool to more computationally intensive numerical codes. Given the connectivity and structure of a fracture network, the flow in the system was solved using a linear system of algebraic equations for the pressure at the nodes of the network. With the flow determined, the temperature in the fracture was solved by coupling convective heat transport in the fracture with one‐dimensional heat conduction perpendicular to the fracture, employing the Green's function derived solution for a single discrete fracture. The predicted temperatures along the fracture surfaces from the analytical solution were compared to numerical simulations using the TOUGH2 reservoir code. Through two case studies, we showed the capabilities of the analytical model and explored the effect of uncertainty in the fracture apertures and network structure on thermal performance. While both sources of uncertainty independently produce large variations in production temperature, uncertainty in the network structure, whenever present, had a predominant influence on thermal performance.
Key Points: Derived an analytical solution for the thermal hydraulic equations of a discrete fracture network Two case studies explored the effects of network uncertainty on reservoir thermal performance The relative contributions of structure and aperture uncertainty on thermal performance were measured
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