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Exploration and characterization of deep underground reservoirs

Applicant Diamond Larryn W.
Number 153889
Funding scheme NRP 70 Energy Turnaround
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.10.2014 - 30.09.2018
Approved amount 898'542.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Geology
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences
Geochemistry
Geophysics

Keywords (16)

CO2; porosity; sequestration; geothermal; exploration; permeability; reservoir; electricity; aquifer; seismic; attenuation; experimental; petrophysics; faults; crystalline rocks; Muschelkalk

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die Bundesstrategie "Energiewende" fordert wissenschaftliche Forschung zur Unterstützung von Industrieprojekten in zwei Geoenergie-Bereichen: 1) die Gewinnung geothermaler Energie zur Stromerzeugung und 2) die permanente Lagerung von CO2 in tiefen geologischen Formationen, um den umweltgerechten Betrieb von Gaskraftwerken zu ermöglichen. Die Exploration nach geeigneten Wärmequellen und Gasspeichern im Untergrund ist noch in der Anfangsphase.
Lay summary

Dieses Projekt sieht vor, geologische Konzepte und geophysikalische Methoden zu entwickeln, die das Risiko eines Misserfolgs bei Explorationsbohrungen reduzieren. In einem Teilprojekt werden bereits vorhandene Bohrkerne aus tiefen, salinen Grundwasserleitern untersucht, um die Herkunft ihrer Porosität und Permeabilität zu verstehen. Diese Ergebnisse werden helfen, das Geoenergie-Potenzial der Formationen in unerforschten Gebieten der Nordschweiz abzuschätzen. In einem zweiten Teil wird ein geothermal aktiver Bruch am Grimselpass untersucht. Neben dem Interesse an solchen Störungen als Wärmequellen in den Alpen, dient die Fallstudie am Grimsel als analoges Beispiel für wärmeleitende Störungen tief unterhalb der Nordschweiz. Mittels einer Bohrung werden die hydraulischen und geophysikalischen Eigenschaften der Störung gemessen. Seismische Explorationsmethoden werden vom Bohrloch aus überprüft, um heisswasserführende Spalten aus der Ferne zu erkunden. Im Labor werden experimentelle Anlagen gebaut, die das Verhalten der Reservoirgesteine bei den Druck- und Temperaturbedingungen des Untergrunds messen lassen. Die gewonnenen Daten werden in Computermodelle integriert, die die Eigenschaften von tiefen Wärmequellen und Gasspeichern im Hinblick auf die Exploration simulieren.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.10.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Penetration depth of meteoric water in orogenic geothermal systems
Diamond Larryn W., Wanner Christoph, Waber H. Niklaus (2018), Penetration depth of meteoric water in orogenic geothermal systems, in Geology.
Effects of progressive burial on matrix porosity and permeability of dolostones in the foreland basin of the Alpine Orogen, Switzerland
Aschwanden Lukas, Diamond Larryn W., Adams Arthur (2018), Effects of progressive burial on matrix porosity and permeability of dolostones in the foreland basin of the Alpine Orogen, Switzerland, in Marine and Petroleum Geology.
Structural characteristics, bulk porosity and evolution of an exhumed long-lived hydrothermal system
Egli Daniel, Baumann Rahel, Küng Sulamith, Berger Alfons, Baron Ludovic, Herwegh Marco (2018), Structural characteristics, bulk porosity and evolution of an exhumed long-lived hydrothermal system, in Tectonophysics, 747-748, 239-258.
Dolomitization by hypersaline reflux into dense groundwaters as revealed by vertical trends in strontium and oxygen isotopes: Upper Muschelkalk, Switzerland
Adams Arthur, Diamond Larryn W., Aschwanden Lukas (2018), Dolomitization by hypersaline reflux into dense groundwaters as revealed by vertical trends in strontium and oxygen isotopes: Upper Muschelkalk, Switzerland, in Sedimentology.
Permeability and seismic velocity anisotropy across a ductile–brittle fault zone in crystalline rock
Wenning Quinn C., Madonna Claudio, de Haller Antoine, Burg Jean-Pierre (2018), Permeability and seismic velocity anisotropy across a ductile–brittle fault zone in crystalline rock, in Solid Earth, 9(3), 683-698.
Early diagenesis driven by widespread meteoric infiltration of a Central European carbonate ramp: A reinterpretation of the Upper Muschelkalk
Adams Arthur, Diamond Larryn W. (2017), Early diagenesis driven by widespread meteoric infiltration of a Central European carbonate ramp: A reinterpretation of the Upper Muschelkalk, in Sedimentary Geology, 362, 37-52.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
CSIRO & Curtin University Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
SEAG Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Swisstopo Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
EGU 2018 Poster A (U-Th)/He age profile across an active hydrothermal zone (Grimsel Pass, Swiss Alps) 10.04.2018 Vienna, Austria Egli Daniel; Herwegh-Züger Marco;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2017 Poster Effect of progressive burial on matrix porosity and permeability in Muschelkalk dolostones, Swiss Molasse Basin 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Aschwanden Lukas; Diamond Larryn W.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2017 Poster Measuring pressure dependent aperture heterogeneity in rough-walled fractures using X-ray computed tomography 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Wenning Quinn;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2017 Talk given at a conference Quantification of the 3D thermal anomaly in the orogenic geothermal system at Grimsel Pass, Switzerland 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2017 Talk given at a conference Fault structure and porosity distribution in an active hydrothermal system 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Egli Daniel; Herwegh-Züger Marco;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2017 Poster Regional-scale reactive transport models of the orogenic hydrothermal system at Grimsel Pass, Switzerland 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2017 Poster Two pathways of silica scaling inside a high-enthalpy geothermal power plant 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
EGU 2017 Poster Fracture Distribution and Porosity in a Fault-bound Hydrothermal System (Grimsel Pass, Swiss Alps) 28.04.2017 Vienna, Austria Herwegh-Züger Marco; Egli Daniel;
Senioren Universität Winterthur Individual talk Geothermie – Was die Natur uns lehrt, Einblicke vom Hydrothermalfeld Grimsel 15.03.2017 Winterthur, Switzerland Herwegh-Züger Marco;
SGM 2016 Talk given at a conference Fracture-controlled flow paths in an active hydrothermal system (Grimsel, Swiss Alps) 19.11.2016 Geneva, Switzerland Egli Daniel; Herwegh-Züger Marco;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2016 Poster Alt-Epping P., Diamond L.W.: Numerical simulation of CO2 injection into the U. Muschelkalk aquifer: implications of fluid–rock reactions in the aquifer and at the contact to an overlying clay formation 18.11.2016 Geneva, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2016 Talk given at a conference Thermal evolution of the Grimsel Pass hydrothermal system: insights from numerical modeling 18.11.2016 Geneva, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
Senioren Universität Bern Individual talk Geothermie – Was die Natur uns lehrt, Einblicke vom Hydrothermalfeld Grimsel 18.10.2016 Bern, Switzerland Herwegh-Züger Marco;
32nd IAS International Meeting of Sedimentology Poster Hypersaline – Meteoric Waters; Elucidating the Complex Dolomitization History of the Upper Muschelkalk, Switzerland 23.05.2016 Marrakech, Morocco Aschwanden Lukas; Diamond Larryn W.;
EGU 2016 Talk given at a conference Exploring an active hydrothermal system – An analogue study from the Swiss Alps 21.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Herwegh-Züger Marco; Egli Daniel;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016 Talk given at a conference Exploring an active hydrothermal system – An analogue study from the Swiss Alps 21.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Egli Daniel; Herwegh-Züger Marco;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016 Poster Physical property characterization of a damage zone in granitic rock – Implications for geothermal reservoir properties 21.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Burg Jean-Pierre; Wenning Quinn;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016 Poster Geophysical characterization of an active hydrothermal shear zone in granitic rocks 17.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Zahner Tobias; Holliger Klaus; Egli Daniel;
Naturforschende Gesellschaft Oberwallis Individual talk Geothermie – Was die Natur uns lehrt, Einblicke vom Hydrothermalfeld Grimsel 06.04.2016 Brig, Switzerland Herwegh-Züger Marco;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2015 Talk given at a conference Coupled models of fluid-rock interaction induced by CO2 injection into the U. Muschelkalk aquifer in N-Switzerland – code benchmarking and quantifying chemical trapping capacity 21.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2015 Talk given at a conference Porosity Enhancing Multi-event Dolomitization in the Upper Muschelkalk of the Swiss Molasse Basin: Implications for CO2 Storage and Geothermal Energy 21.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.; Aschwanden Lukas;
SGM 2015 Poster Structural observations from drill cores from the Grimsel hydrothermal breccia 21.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Egli Daniel; Herwegh-Züger Marco;
2015 Annual Conference of Swiss Competence Centre in Energy Research - Supply of Energy (SCCER–SoE), University of Neuchatel Poster Accessible analogues of fault-hosted geothermal energy systems: hydrothermal breccia (Grimsel, CH) 11.09.2015 Neuchatel, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.; Wenning Quinn; Zahner Tobias; Herwegh-Züger Marco; Holliger Klaus; Egli Daniel;
2015 Annual Conference of Swiss Competence Centre in Energy Research - Supply of Energy (SCCER–SoE) Talk given at a conference Muschelkalk aquifer in the Swiss Molasse Basin: properties relevant to geothermal energy and gas storage 11.09.2015 Nechatel, Switzerland Aschwanden Lukas; Diamond Larryn W.;
2015 Annual Conference of Swiss Competence Centre in Energy Research - Supply of Energy (SCCER–SoE), University of Neuchatel Poster Numerical simulations of fluid-rock interaction in enhanced geothermal and CO2 injection systems - implications for the utilization of deep reservoirs in Switzerland 11.09.2015 Neuchatel, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
15th Bathurst Meeting of Carbonate Sedimentologists Poster Facies Architecture and its Controls on Porosity Distribution in a Triassic Swiss Carbonate Ramp 13.07.2015 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Aschwanden Lukas; Diamond Larryn W.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2014 Talk given at a conference http://www.geoscience-meeting.ch/sgm2014/ 22.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2014 Talk given at a conference Facies analysis and correlation of the middle Triassic Swiss carbonate ramp: Relation to current aquifer properties of the Upper Muschelkalk 22.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.; Aschwanden Lukas;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2014 Poster Reservoir properties of the Middle- and Upper Muschelkalk carbonate aquifer at Schlattingen, NE-Switzerland 22.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.; Aschwanden Lukas;
Geoscience Seminar Series, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg Individual talk Principles and potential of geological sequestration of CO2 in Switzerland 11.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;
Alstom Workshop on CO2 Sequestration in Switzerland, Birr, Switzerland Talk given at a conference Geological sequestration of CO2 in Switzerland: The challenge of finding a suitable site 21.10.2014 Birr, Switzerland Diamond Larryn W.;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media 125 Meter lange Bohrung nach heissem Grimsel-Wasser Walliser Bote German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television Forschungsleiter und Professor Marco Herwegh zum Geothermieprojekt Grimsel Radio Rottu Oberwallis German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television Geothermiebohrung in luftiger Höhe SRF German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Wie macht man Energie aus der Tiefe nutzbar 20 Minuten German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
177026 Re-equiping the noble gas laboratory to perform state of the art science, University of Geneva 01.03.2018 R'EQUIP
178946 Seismic characterization of fractured rocks based on a porolastic approach 01.05.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The Swiss Federal Energy Strategy 2050 calls for scientific research to support industry's endeavours to (1) generate electricity from geothermal energy and (2) develop deep geological sites for permanent, safe storage of CO2, such that gas-fired power stations may be operated in an environmentally sustainable way. At present, there are no proven sites for these technologies in Switzerland. This project will therefore support industry's first steps towards these aims, namely the assessment of geothermal and gas-storage resources, the exploration for promising drilling sites and the characterization of potential heat- and gas-storage reservoirs. The project will elaborate exploration guidelines and methodologies to lower the risk of failure of exploration drilling. The research is organized into four subprojects, with overlapping participation of 17 scientists from the disciplines of geology, geochemistry, structural geology, geophysics and petrophysics at the University of Bern, the University of Lausanne and ETH-Zurich, plus in-kind collaboration from industry personnel. In addition to research expenses, we request from NRP70 the salaries for a research position for each subproject, i.e. 3 doctoral students (3 years each) and 1 post-doctoral researcher (2 years). Subproject A will analyse drill core from wells in Switzerland's main saline aquifer (Upper Muschelkalk) and reconstruct the geological processes that led to formation or destruction of its porosity and permeability. This conceptual understanding will be used to create a 3D static model of the reservoir properties, to serve as a guide in commercial exploration for sites for geothermal electricity production and CO2 sequestration. The potential for these energy applications will mapped into the model, to provide improved estimates of geo-energy resources and a planning tool for decision-makers at local, canton and federal levels.Subproject B will focus on a >20 km long, hydrothermally active fault that outcrops in granite on the Grimsel Pass (Aar Massif). As well as being a geothermal system in its own right, this fault is an analogue of water-conducting faults in the basement of the Swiss Molasse Basin (SMB), which are targets of geothermal exploration. Surface outcrops will be mapped and a shallow borehole will be drilled through the fault to permit construction of a 3D static model of its geometric and hydraulic properties. This model will serve to assess the geothermal potential of the northern Alpine margin, it will provide exploration companies with a template for hidden faults in the SMB with which they can interpret seismic surveys and plan hydraulic stimulation, and it will provide a realistic framework for dynamic modelling of deep geothermal reservoirs conducted by a parallel subproject of the NRP70 Umbrella cluster. Subproject C will conduct a detailed geophysical survey of the Grimsel Pass borehole. Geophysical logging of the borehole will characterize the hydraulics of the Grimsel fault, for input into the 3D static model. Surface-to-borehole seismic experiments will use the Grimsel fault as a test case to determine whether seismic methods can remotely detect permeability in fractured crystalline rocks. The results will be used to elucidate the fundamental relations between seismic attenuation and effective permeability of fractured rocks, using a comprehensive poro-elastic approach involving advanced numerical simulations. Corresponding field workflows for this new methodology will be made available to the exploration industry.Subproject D will conduct cutting-edge laboratory measurements and experiments on core samples to determine the petrophysical properties of the Upper Muschelkalk and Grimsel Fault reservoirs, and to explore in general the relationship between the effective permeability of fractured rocks and the attenuation of seismic waves and electrical resistivity. Measurements of electrical conductivity, elastic properties, seismic attenuation and permeability will be made in new apparatus capable of reaching deep reservoir conditions (T = 250 °C, Prock = 100 MPa and Pfluid = 50 MPa). The results will be used to support subprojects A, B and C, and the developed methodologies will be made available to industry.
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