Numerical investigation of the efficiency of emission reduction and heat extraction in a sedimentary geothermal reservoir: a case study of the Daming geothermal field in China

  • Xuyang Guo
  • Hongqing Song
  • John Killough
  • Li Du
  • Pengguang Sun
Research Article


The utilization of geothermal energy is clean and has great potential worldwide, and it is important to utilize geothermal energy in a sustainable manner. Mathematical modeling studies of geothermal reservoirs are important as they evaluate and quantify the complex multi-physical effects in geothermal reservoirs. However, previous modeling efforts lack the study focusing on the emission reduction efficiency and the deformation at geothermal wellbores caused by geothermal water extraction/circulation. Emission efficiency is rather relevant in geothermal projects introduced in areas characterized by elevated air pollution where the utilization of geothermal energy is as an alternative to burning fossil fuels. Deformation at geothermal wellbores is also relevant as significant deformation caused by water extraction can lead to geothermal wellbore instability and can consequently decrease the effectiveness of the heat extraction process in geothermal wells. In this study, the efficiency of emission reduction and heat extraction in a sedimentary geothermal reservoir in Daming County, China, are numerically investigated based on a coupled multi-physical model. Relationships between the efficiency of emission reduction and heat extraction, deformation at geothermal well locations, and geothermal field parameters including well spacing, heat production rate, re-injection temperature, rock stiffness, and geothermal well placement patterns are analyzed. Results show that, although large heat production rates and low re-injection temperatures can lead to decreased heat production in the last 8 years of heat extraction, they still improve the overall heat production capacity and emission reduction capacity. Also, the emission reduction capacity is positively correlated with the heat production capacity. Deformation at geothermal wellbore locations is alleviated by smaller well spacing, lower heat production rates, and smaller numbers of injectors in the well pattern, and by placing wells at locations with higher rock stiffness. Compared with the reference case with coal burning for heating purposes, the yearly emission reduction capacity can reach 1 × 107 kg by switching to the direct utilization of geothermal energy in Daming field.


Sedimentary geothermal reservoir Emission reduction Coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanical effects in geothermal reservoirs Direct utilization of geothermal energy Case study of a geothermal field Numerical methods 



The authors express gratitude to Sinopec Star Petroleum Co., Ltd. for the cooperation in this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuyang Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hongqing Song
    • 1
    • 2
  • John Killough
    • 2
  • Li Du
    • 3
  • Pengguang Sun
    • 3
  1. 1.School of civil and environmental engineeringUniversity of Science and Technology BeijingBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of petroleum engineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Sinopec Star Petroleum Co., LtdBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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