Thursday, August 11, 2016

Science & Technology: Research Develops Cement that Performs Strongly in Harsh Geothermal Conditions

EERE Success Story—Geothermal Wells: Advancing the Technology (EERE/GTO)

(Photo Courtesy Trabits Group)
One of the most critical components of geothermal resource development is the drilling process and the integrity and longevity of a geothermal well’s cementation of casings. After a geothermal production well has been drilled, the well must be stabilized with a casing, a large diameter pipe that is assembled and inserted into a recently drilled section of a borehole, in order to prevent the well walls from collapsing. The gap between the casing and the walls of the well is filled with cement, which locks the casing into place. Within geothermal wells, cement and casing integrity challenges are increased by the harsh conditions of high temperature, high pressure, and a chemical environment that can degrade conventional cement.

With assistance from the Geothermal Technology Office (GTO), Trabits Group, LLC has successfully developed a cement that performs strongly in harsh geothermal conditions and is easy to use. Containing zeolites a naturally occurring mineral that can be readily dehydrated and rehydrated this cement reduces the complexity and cost of well cementing, which will help enable the widespread development of geothermal energy in the United States.