Thursday, December 27, 2018

United Kingdom: PhD Position on Understanding Fluid Flow and Induced Seismicity in Enhanced Geothermal Systems

The Effects of Fluid Flow on the Transport Properties of Faults in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (Find a PhD)

Heriot-Watt University, School of Energy, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Deadline: Friday, February 01, 2019

Successful operation of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGSs) requires easy flow of geothermal fluids. Pre-existing faults often provide low permeability pathways for fluid flow. However, such faults may be reactivated during geothermal operations, potentially leading to induced seismicity.

Whether or not fault movement leads to induced seismicity depends on the fault frictional properties, which is affected by a range of factors, including the fault rock composition. Both permeability and frictional properties can be affected by the flow-through of the undersaturated solutions involved in geothermal operations, which can lead to mineral dissolution and precipitation, as such changing the (connected) porosity and the fault rock composition.

This project aims to quantify how flow-through of undersaturated solutions affects the composition and transport properties of fault materials typical for EGSs, and what the implications are for the frictional properties and thus induced seismicity. The approach adopted involves experimental work, microstructural investigations and microphysical modelling. In addition, the student may be able to work with an industry reactive transport modelling code.

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