Injection - Related Problems Encountered in Geothermal Projects and their Mitigation: The United States Experience

Basic Information
Author: Sanyal, S.K., Ganados, E.E., and Menzies, A.J.
Description:Underground fluid injection is important to a geothermal project for a number of reasons: (i) to avoid any environmental impact arising from surface disposal, (ii) to provide pressure support to the reservoir, (iii) to scavenge heat from the rock matrix, and (iv) to avoid any ground subsidence. A survey of some 70 commercial geothermal projects in the U.S. showes that the followinf problems have been encountered or suspected in connection with the injection of waste geothermal fluids: 10 lack of suitable injection sites, 2) cooling of the produced fluid, 3) excessive injection pressure, 4) loss of productivity of steam wells, 5) groundwater contamination, 6) ground heaving, 7) leakage of the injection fluid to to the surface, 8) adverse impact of the chemistry of the produced fluid, and 9) induced seismic activity. About 20 percent of the projects have experienced such problems. However, typically no more than one of these problems has affected a single project.
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Author Contact Information
Distributor Contact Information
Organization Name: Arizona Geological Survey
Street: 416 W. Congress St., Suite 100
City: Tucson
State: AZ
Zip: 85701
Phone: 520-770-3500
Geographic Extent
North Bounding Latitude: 41.9863971078
South Bounding Latitude: 32.4197951321
East Bounding Longitude: -114.1699375
West Bounding Longitude: -124.7168125