Thermoporoelastic effects during heat extraction from low permeability geothermal reservoirs are investigated numerically, based on the model of a horizontal penny-shaped fracture intersected by an injection well and a production well. A coupled formulation for thermo-hydraulic (TH) processes is presented that implicitly accounts for the mechanical deformation of the poroelastic matrix. The TH model is coupled to a separate mechanical contact model (M) that solves for the fracture contact stresses due to thermoporoelastic compression. Fractures are modelled as surface discontinuities within a three-dimensional matrix. A robust contact model is utilised to resolve the contact tractions between opposing fracture surfaces. Results show that due to the very low thermal diffusivity of the rock matrix, the thermally-induced pore pressure partially dissipates even in the very low-permeability rocks that are found in EGS projects. Therefore, using the undrained thermal expansion coefficient for the matrix may overestimate the volumetric strain of the rock in low-permeability enhanced geothermal systems, whereas using a drained thermal expansion coefficient for the matrix may underestimate the volumetric strain of the rock. An â€œeffectiveâ€� thermal expansion coefficient can be computed from the drained and undrained values to improve the prediction for the partially-drained matrix.
- Coupled formulation
- Enhanced geothermal systems
- Low-permeability rock
- Undrained thermal expansion coefficient