GEMex (i.e. Cooperation in Geothermal energy research Europe-Mexico for development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems and Superhot Geothermal Systems) is a research project that aims to combine the knowledge gained by the geothermal specialists from Mexico in the field of exploration, development and implementation of conventional high enthalpy geothermal energy systems with diverse European expertise in similar systems in Europe (e.g. Italy, Iceland). The results of the GEMex project will significantly help to improve the use of EGS (i.e. Enhanced Geothermal System) technology and find new solutions for the use of super-hot geothermal systems (SHGS) with temperatures >380°C. The project is financed by the European fund Horizon 2020.
Fig. 1: Map of the geothermal field Los Humeros in the eastern part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (Carrasco-Núñez G. et al. 2017)
The project’s main objective is to develop a concept for the wider use of geothermal energy in Europe and Mexico. This aim will be achieved by extended research in two geothermal fields i.e.:
GEMex will help to create a synergy of competencies and technologies and accelerate the development of similar unconventional geothermal systems worldwide. Potential drilling plans and stimulation scenarios will be developed in the target areas. The project results will be compared to the experience gained in EGS projects in Europe and beyond and SHGS projects in Europe (i.e. IDDP-1) and Japan (Kakkonda geothermal field).
The Acoculco geothermal field was explored by two deep wells (approximately 2.2 km of depth) drilled by CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad). The results of the drilling process showed insufficient reservoir fluids (i.e. the so-called “dry” wells), however, the temperature of formation rocks was well above 300°C. The lack of reservoir fluids is surprising due to the abundant precipitation in this region of Mexico. Nevertheless, the high geothermal gradient makes it an interesting exploitation target and the lack of water makes it an ideal area for the implementation of the EGS system.
Fig. 2: Visit of scientists from the International Geothermal Centre (Germany) to the geothermal field of Los Humeros in order to exchange experiences concerning geothermal drilling and completion technologies (photo: Michal Kruszewski)
The geothermal system in Los Humeros has been producing geothermal energy since the 1980s. The northern part of the area is much warmer, with temperatures >380°C, than the wells currently used for geothermal fluid production. The development of this part of the Los Humeros field is a significant challenge, both due to the high temperature and the acidic nature of the reservoir fluids. In addition, the area is characterized by poor geological and geophysical understanding. The uncertainty of the geothermal potential and complexities associated with the development of such super-hot system, i.e. the completion of the deep well and the surface equipment, make its development significantly challenging.
The concludes our #GeothermalFactsandStats on the GEMex partnership between Europe and Mexico. Check back weekly for more blog posts and follow us on all major social media platforms.
Author: Michal Kruszewski