Journal cover Journal topic
Geothermal Energy Science An open-access journal
Journal topic
Volume 3, issue 1
Geoth. Energ. Sci., 3, 19-39, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/gtes-3-19-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Estimation and classification of geothermal potential...

Geoth. Energ. Sci., 3, 19-39, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/gtes-3-19-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  07 Apr 2015

07 Apr 2015

Overcoming challenges in the classification of deep geothermal potential

K. Breede, K. Dzebisashvili, and G. Falcone K. Breede et al.
  • Dept. of Geothermal Engineering and Integrated Energy Systems, Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Clausthal University of Technology, Clausthal, Germany

Abstract. The geothermal community lacks a universal definition of deep geothermal systems. A minimum depth of 400 m is often assumed, with a further sub-classification into middle-deep geothermal systems for reservoirs found between 400 and 1000 m. Yet, the simplistic use of a depth cut-off is insufficient to uniquely determine the type of resource and its associated potential. Different definitions and criteria have been proposed in the past to frame deep geothermal systems. However, although they have valid assumptions, these frameworks lack systematic integration of correlated factors. To further complicate matters, new definitions such as hot dry rock (HDR), enhanced or engineered geothermal systems (EGSs) or deep heat mining have been introduced over the years. A clear and transparent approach is needed to estimate the potential of deep geothermal systems and be capable of distinguishing between resources of a different nature. In order to overcome the ambiguity associated with some past definitions such as EGS, this paper proposes the return to a more rigorous petrothermal versus hydrothermal classification. This would be superimposed with numerical criteria for the following: depth and temperature; predominance of conduction, convection or advection; formation type; rock properties; heat source type; requirement for formation stimulation and corresponding efficiency; requirement to provide the carrier fluid; well productivity (or injectivity); production (or circulation) flow rate; and heat recharge mode. Using the results from data mining of past and present deep geothermal projects worldwide, a classification of the same, according to the aforementioned criteria is proposed.

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