Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Research article
18 Dec 2019
Research article |  | 18 Dec 2019

A numerical sensitivity study of how permeability, porosity, geological structure, and hydraulic gradient control the lifetime of a geothermal reservoir

Johanna F. Bauer, Michael Krumbholz, Elco Luijendijk, and David C. Tanner

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Cited articles

Agemar, T., Weber, J., and Schulz, R.: Deep geothermal energy production in Germany, Energies, 7, 4397–4416,, 2014. 
Alava, M. J., Nukala, P. K. V. V., and Zapperi, S.: Size effects in statistical fracture, J. Phys. D Appl. Phys., 42, 214012,, 2009. 
Aragón-Aguilar, A., Izquierdo-Montalvo, G., López-Blanco, S., and Arellano-Gómez, V.: Analysis of heterogeneous characteristics in a geothermal area with low permeability and high temperature, Geosci. Front., 8, 1039–1050,, 2017. 
Bachu, S.: Synthesis and model of formation-water flow, Alberta Basin, Canada, AAPG Bull., 79, 1159–1178, 1995. 
Bakhsh, K. J., Nakagawa, M., Arshad, M., and Dunnington, L.: Modelling thermal breakthrough in sedimentary geothermal systems, using COMSOL Multiphysics, Proceedings, 41st Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, Stanford, California, 22–24 February 2016, SGP-TR-209, 2016. 
Short summary
We use a 4-D numerical sensitivity study to investigate which geological parameters exert a dominant control on the quality of a deep geothermal reservoir. We constrain how the variability of these parameters affects the economic potential of a reservoir. We show that the interplay of high permeability and hydraulic gradient is the dominant control on reservoir lifetime. Fracture anisotropy, typical for faults, leads to fluid channelling and thus restricts the exploitable volume significantly.