Understanding Geologic Features Helps Predict Well Capacity

Key: Geology Code 2: Large-scale volcanic structures; Geology Code 3: Younger volcanic features; Geology Code 4: Sedimentary basins. Larger scale volcanic structures may reflect higher permeability and could result in more successful geothermal power projects. Source: International Finance Corp. This…

Key: Geology Code 2: Large-scale volcanic structures; Geology Code 3: Younger volcanic features; Geology Code 4: Sedimentary basins. Larger scale volcanic structures may reflect higher permeability and could result in more successful geothermal power projects. Source: International Finance Corp.

This visual comes from International Finance Corporation’s new “Success of Geothermal Wells: A Global Study” report and depicts the success of a geothermal power plant well by the geology.
GEA’s Ben Matek observed from the data that “It appears larger scale volcanic features have the highest modal capacity of about 6 MW, while sedimentary basins have the smallest modal capacity at about 3 MW,” though he acknowledges the authors’ note that data fluctuations make “definite conclusions” difficult.
The authors hypothesize that older volcanic structures are more fractured than other geology types, “and so permeability of the reservoir is higher, allowing greater flow of geothermal fluids.”
This blog was originally published in GEA’s Geothermal Energy Weekly newsletter and was republished with permission. 

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Leslie Blodgett

Leslie is a writer, editor, and industry initiatives officer for the Geothermal Energy Association and has published the organization’s newsletter, Geothermal Energy Weekly, and newswire, GeoEnergyWire, since 2008. She served on the planning…

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