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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Review article
07 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Solid Earth (SE) and is expected to appear here in due course.
The seismo-hydro-mechanical behaviour during deep geothermal reservoir stimulations: open questions tackled in a decameter-scale in-situ stimulation experiment
Florian Amann1, Valentin Gischig1, Keith Evans1, Joseph Doetsch1, Reza Jalali1, Benoît Valley2, Hannes Krietsch1, Nathan Dutler2, Linus Villiger1, Bernard Brixel1, Maria Klepikova1, Anniina Kittilä1, Claudio Madonna1, Stefan Wiemer1, Martin O. Saar1, Simon Loew1, Thomas Driesner1, Hansruedi Maurer1, and Domenico Giardini1 1ETH Zurich, Department of Earth Sciences, Sonneggstrasse 5, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
2University of Neuchatel, Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermics (CHYN), Laboratory of Geothermics and Reservoir Geomechanics, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Abstract. In this contribution we present a review of scientific research results that address seismo-hydro-mechanical coupled processes relevant for the development of a sustainable heat exchanger in low permeability crystalline rock and introduce the design of the In-situ Stimulation and Circulation (ISC) experiment at the Grimsel Test Site dedicated to study such processes under controlled conditions. The review shows that research on reservoir stimulation for deep geothermal energy exploitation has been largely based on laboratory observations, large-scale projects and numerical models. Observations of full-scale reservoir stimulations have yielded important results. However, the limited access to the reservoir and limitations in the control on the experimental conditions during deep reservoir stimulations is insufficient to resolve the details of the hydro-mechanical processes that would enhance process understanding in a way that aids future stimulation design. Small scale laboratory experiments provide a fundamental insights into various processes relevant for enhanced geothermal energy, but suffer from 1) difficulties and uncertainties in upscaling the results to the field-scale and 2) relatively homogeneous material and stress conditions that lead to an over-simplistic fracture flow and/or hydraulic fracture propagation behaviour that is not representative for a heterogeneous reservoir. Thus, there is a need for intermediate-scale hydraulic stimulation experiments with high experimental control that bridge the various scales, and for which access to the target rock mass with a comprehensive monitoring system is possible. Only few intermediate-scale hydro-shearing and hydro-fracturing experiments have recently been performed in a densely instrumented rock mass. No such measurements have been performed on faults in crystalline basement rocks. The In-situ Stimulation and Circulation (ISC) experiment currently performed in a naturally fractured and faulted crystalline rock mass at the Grimsel Test Site (Switzerland) is designed to address open research questions, which could not be investigated in the required detail so far. Two hydraulic injection phases were executed to enhance the permeability of the rock mass: a hydro-shearing phase and then a hydraulic fracturing phase. During the injection phases the rock mass deformation across fractures and within intact rock, the pore pressure distribution and propagation and the micro-seismic response were monitored at a high spatial and temporal resolution.

Citation: Amann, F., Gischig, V., Evans, K., Doetsch, J., Jalali, R., Valley, B., Krietsch, H., Dutler, N., Villiger, L., Brixel, B., Klepikova, M., Kittilä, A., Madonna, C., Wiemer, S., Saar, M. O., Loew, S., Driesner, T., Maurer, H., and Giardini, D.: The seismo-hydro-mechanical behaviour during deep geothermal reservoir stimulations: open questions tackled in a decameter-scale in-situ stimulation experiment, Solid Earth Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Florian Amann et al.
Florian Amann et al.


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