Newsflash #3: Workshop on Corrosion, Scaling and Erosion in Geothermal Wells Los Humeros, Mexico 6-10 March 2017

GEMex scienstists held a workshop on corrosion, scaling and erosion in geothermal wells of Los Humeros from 6-10 March 2017.

The workshop took place on site in the Los Humeros geothermal field, located in Puebla, Mexico. Los Humeros is one of the five geothermal fields in operation in Mexico, with an operating capacity of more than 80 megawatts, and is owned and operated by the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). The steam currently feeding the power plants is of hydrothermal, conventional origin, but some parts of the reservoir consists of superhot fluids, whose identification, characterization and guidelines for eventually tapping, are some of the main objectives of the GEMex project.

The first day of the workshop focused on corrosion and case histories from hot geothermal systems (see the picture: Example of scaling in Los Humeros. Silica and iron oxides scaling in superficial pipe from the well H-43 in Los Humeros. Photo by CFE). During the afternoon of the first day a round tour to the geothermal facilities, wells and power plants was organized. On the second day the participants focused on structural damages and mitigation actions such as the patent-pending Flexible Coupling. The third day started with a session on engineering of the geothermal cycle, reservoir and fluid properties, while scaling problems and their handling were highlighted in the afternoon. The workshop was designed to be of practical nature, where case studies were discussed. This was of special interest to the operating personal in Los Humeros and other geothermal fields in Mexico, most of them from the CFE. The event gathered over 25 attendees, all of them engineering, chemical and operational experts.

As the workshop progressed, it was clear that the interest of CFE was high and for the last two days high-level personnel joined. Discussions were very open between partners resulting in better understanding of the nature of the operational problems, material selections and mitigation progresses. The fourth day of the workshop was an intensive half day course were ISOR and GFZ partners discussed the workshop content, possible testing and future scenario for the high temperature geothermal fields in Mexico. It was enjoyable for the organizers to welcome high-level participation from CFE the last morning to enable direct information to their decision levels. This was of special importance for the proposed in situ testing of materials in Los Humeros, both with regard corrosion as well as scaling. Decisions for the testing will be taken in few weeks.

In short, this workshop was very successful and enabled partners to better understand the content of the GEMex project. Conversations and presentations from both sides opened up discussions on possible scenarios for future collaboration between Mexican and European Partners within GEMex. The interest of partners to work together on understanding operational problems of the geothermal wells was sealed.

The workshop was held in the facilities of CFE in Los Humeros field. Dr. Aída López Hernández organized the Mexican part. Ingólfur Örn Þorbjörnsson from ISOR and Prof. Ernst Huenges from GFZ organized the European part.