2nd GEMex Side-event

GEMex researchers will present their results during the European Geothermal Workshop on 9-10 October 2019 in Karlsruhe, Germany.

GEMex researchers are invited to present their results during the EGW on:

  • Results from geological, geochemical and geophysical investigations in Los Humeros and Acoculco, Mexico

  • Results from geological, temperature and reservoir modelling

  • Results from technology development for super hot geothermal reservoirs

More info on this event here

Geochemical characterization and origin of cold and thermal fluids

The study of the chemical and isotopic characteristics of cold and thermal waters allow to better understand the interaction processes between rocks and water. During 2017 and 2018, the GEMex team recovered many gas and water samples during field sampling trips in Los Humeros and Acoculco geothermal field. It gives precious information on the main recharge areas, the thermodynamic conditions and the fluid migration in the subsurface.

The study on soil degassing was also performed in Los Humeros and Acoculco geothermal field. The study shows that the CO2 flux rate is related to structural permeability: an increased CO2 flux rate and high concentration of Radon and Thoron isotopes correlate with known faults. Also, the isotopic signature of the CO2 shows that it has a deep origin.

Samples of geothermal fluids from some geothermal wells and thermal springs give the opportunity to develop an auxiliary chemical and isotope geothermometers, in order to better know the deep reservoir temperature in High-T volcanic areas such as Los Humeros and Acoculco.

Laboratory Experiments on Fluid rock interaction under specific conditions (CO2 overpressure at 200-300°C) have been conducted to better understand the hydrothermal alteration processes of the reservoir. Another geochemical modelisation study is on-going: the objective is to reconstruct the deep fluid composition at the well bottom.

Tracers are molecules which behave like sensors when injected in small quantities. The tracer field test* is an essential reservoir management tool when monitoring preferential flow paths and preparing reinjection strategies to maintain sustainability of the reservoir. There are no tracers available which can be used at supercritical conditions, for the ones commonly used are unstable at high temperatures conditions. The GEMEX team is currently investigating tracers which can be then used by field operators in supercritical reservoirs (for exemple in Los Humeros).

* In such a test, the tracer is injected into an injection well, and its reappearance is monitored in production wells over a period of time which varies from a few days till several months and years.

Figure 9: Radon/thoron measurement plus taking a gas sample for micro gas chromatography


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The site at Acoculco, foreseen for EGS development, has been explored by two deep wells drilled by the CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad). These wells found hardly any fluids but temperatures around 300°C at a depth of 2 km. The lack of fluids at depth is surprising, as this area of Mexico is subject to abundant precipitation. Nonetheless, the high temperature gradient makes it an interesting target for exploitation and the lack of a clear resource makes it an ideal region for testing our knowledge on how to constrain an area where EGS can be performed.

Los Humeros

The geothermal system at Los Humeros is currently exploited. The northern part of the area, however, is much hotter (>380°C) than the wells used for production today. The development of this part of the reservoir presents a challenge, both because of the high temperature and because of the water chemistry. In addition, the area has only been poorly characterised by geophysical and geological surveys. Therefore our understanding required for the development and exploitation of this super-hot resource is limited. The uncertainty about the potential of this resource and the technical challenges involved with the development of such a super-hot geothermal system currently prevent its economic development.