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Industry-First Technologies & Innovations Enabling Enhanced-Geothermal-Systems (egs)
Geothermal is seen as a critical component of the mix of sustainable low carbon energy sources, including hydroelectric, wind, solar, nuclear, which will contribute to the global net zero goal by 2050. Today, most of the installed capacity is limited to regions of the world with naturally occurring hydrothermal formations which have adequate heat, fluid and permeability. The naturally occurring hydrothermal formations, referred to as Conventional Geothermal Systems (CGS), accounts for about 0.5% of the renewable mix. The market opportunity for Geothermal has changed drastically with the global net zero commitment. Most of the global potential Geothermal resources have one or more of adequate heat, fluid or permeability constrained. To exploit these, Unconventional Geothermal strategies are required. Innovations in Advanced Geothermal Systems (AGS), Supercritical Geothermal Systems (SGS), Hybrid Geothermal Systems (HGS) and Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) combined with return of experience and adaptation of technologies from the Oil & Gas (O&G) industry will stimulate significant uptake, expanding potentially exploitable resource areas outside of CGS. These Unconventional Geothermal innovations, with CGS, are seen as potential solutions to increasing global Geothermal capacity thus providing a reliable and flexible baseload energy source which is independent of weather conditions. Geothermal projects are however challenging, as the high-pressure, high-temperature, hostile downhole-environments often present an incredibly difficult standard for achieving safe and reliable well-integrity. To outline a few, deeper wells require: First, alloys with high-strength, corrosion-resistance and thermal-stability because elevated temperature-derating of mechanical-properties, as such, burst and collapse issues of tubing at high-pressures; high-temperature creep of alloy-tubing requiring complex completions-designs; severe corrosion in a hostile-environment with abundance of acid-gases and chlorides. Second, packers rated to production temperatures as high as 750 oF are needed to effectively isolate tubing and casing for perforating injectors and producers, allowing reservoir stimulation, increasing the network of naturally fractured formation between them. Third, such Ultra-HPHT formations need perforating-systems to produce entry-holes large enough to enable effective formation-stimulation between an injector and the producer. Forth, retaining system-enthalpy in EGS needs tubing with near-zero thermal-conductivity. Supercritical-fluid produced downhole in EGS tends to lose heat to colder-formations as it travels to surface thus resulting in a combination of hot-water and steam at surface. This needs additional energy to be flashed into dry-steam to efficiently run a turbine. In this paper, several matured and commercial technologies, new product developments stemming from innovations and synthesis of know-how in designing advanced materials, a part of our Center(s) of Materials Excellence and Hybrid Materials, a collaborative partnership with industry leaders in various domains to enable CGS, AGS, SGS, HGS and EGS are presented. Selected products encompass: Thermally stable corrosion resistant alloy, HPHT packer, un-Flasked perforating gun and nano-composite tubing with near-zero thermal conductivity, all rated to 750 oF.