Reservoir Simulations of Low-Temperature Geothermal Reservoirs



Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Committee Chair

Brian J. Anderson.


The eastern United States generally has lower temperature gradients than the western United States. However, West Virginia, in particular, has higher temperature gradients compared to other eastern states. A recent study at Southern Methodist University by Blackwell et al. has shown the presence of a hot spot in the eastern part of West Virginia with temperatures reaching 150°C at a depth of between 4.5 and 5 km. This thesis work examines similar reservoirs at a depth of around 5 km resembling the geology of West Virginia, USA. The temperature gradients used are in accordance with the SMU study.;In order to assess the effects of geothermal reservoir conditions on the lifetime of a low-temperature geothermal system, a sensitivity analysis study was performed on following seven natural and human-controlled parameters within a geothermal reservoir: reservoir temperature, injection fluid temperature, injection flow rate, porosity, rock thermal conductivity, water loss (%) and well spacing. This sensitivity analysis is completed by using 'One factor at a time method (OFAT)' and 'Plackett-Burman design' methods. The data used for this study was obtained by carrying out the reservoir simulations using TOUGH2 simulator.;The second part of this work is to create a database of thermal potential and time-dependant reservoir conditions for low-temperature geothermal reservoirs by studying a number of possible scenarios. Variations in the parameters identified in sensitivity analysis study are used to expand the scope of database. Main results include the thermal potential of reservoir, pressure and temperature profile of the reservoir over its operational life (30 years for this study), the plant capacity and required pumping power. The results of this database will help the supply curves calculations for low-temperature geothermal reservoirs in the United States, which is the long term goal of the work being done by the geothermal research group under Dr. Anderson at West Virginia University.

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