REFLECT – European research project on fluids and the optimization of geothermal energy extraction

  • Mar 25, 2020
  • ThinkGeo Energy

The efficiency of geothermal utilisation depends on the behaviour of fluids that transfer heat between the geosphere and the engineered components of a power plant, which is part of an European research project called REFLECT.

The EU-funded REFLECT project, is focused on “Redefining geothermal fluid properties at extreme conditions to optimize future geothermal energy extraction.”

The efficiency of geothermal utilisation depends on the behaviour of fluids that transfer heat between the geosphere and the engineered components of a power plant. REFLECT aims to avoid problems related to fluid chemistry rather than treat them. The physical and chemical fluid properties are often poorly defined, as in situ sampling and measurements at extreme conditions are difficult to date. Therefore, large uncertainties in current model predictions prevail, which will be tackled in REFLECT by collecting new, high-quality data in critical areas. These data will be implemented in a European geothermal fluid atlas and in predictive models allowing to provide recommendations on how to best operate geothermal systems for sustainable use.

From react to REFLECT: the project aims at preventing problems instead of treating them. Based on known operational problems and observations, REFLECT will determine the effect of relevant fluid properties and reactions in order to enhance predictive geochemical modelling and thus the energy exploitation and life-time of geothermal power plants. By moving from reacting to occurring problems, to reflecting in advance (and acting proactively), the project outcomes can fundamentally change the problem-solving strategies of geothermal operators.

Seven specific goals have been identified.

A first meeting of the REFLECT Advisory Board was held at the geothermal site of Pfalzwerke Geofuture GmbH in Insheim (Germany) on 4 March 2020.

At this occasion, several operators expressed their interest in determining the bubbling point for CO2 at their site. Discussions also proved that lead deposits represent a challenge for operators due to the high cleaning and disposal costs.

It is foreseen that several sampling campaigns will be performed during the project life-time at the 13 sites, in order to collect samples of high temperature fluids and high-salinity types.

The REFLECT project consortium consists of the following partners:

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