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Alternative (unconventional) deep geothermal designs are needed to provide a secure and efficient geothermal energy supply. An in-depth sensitivity analysis was investigated considering a deep borehole closed-loop heat exchanger (DBHE) to overcome the current limitations of deep EGS. A T2Well/EOS1 model previously calibrated on an experimental DBHE in Hawaii was adapted to the current NWG 55-29 well at the Newberry volcano site in Central Oregon. A sensitivity analysis was carried out, including parameters such as the working fluid mass flow rate, the casing and cement thermal properties, and the wellbore radii dimensions. The results conclude the highest energy flow rate to be 1.5 MW, after an annulus radii increase and an imposed mass flow rate of 5 kg/s. At 3 kg/s, the DBHE yielded an energy flow rate a factor of 3.5 lower than the NWG 55-29 conventional design. Despite this loss, the sensitivity analysis allows an assessment of the key thermodynamics within the wellbore and provides a valuable insight into how heat is lost/gained throughout the system. This analysis was performed under the assumption of subcritical conditions, and could aid the development of unconventional designs within future EGS work like the Newberry Deep Drilling Project (NDDP). Requirements for further software development are briefly discussed, which would facilitate the modelling of unconventional geothermal wells in supercritical systems to support EGS projects that could extend to deeper depths.
Doran, H. R., Renaud, T., Falcone, G., Pan, L., & Verdin, P. G. (2021). Modelling an unconventional closed-loop deep borehole heat exchanger (DBHE): sensitivity analysis on the Newberry volcanic setting. Geothermal Energy, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40517-021-00185-0