GeoFlow Imaging is a global collective of scientists, developers and business experts who collaborate to make geothermal energy more commercially viable than traditional sources of power.
It’s difficult to build a robust business case for geothermal exploration today. Existing seismic techniques provide little detail, instead they rely on data from drilling speculative wells at a high cost to investors. Our precise exploration technology allows the economic output of a site to be accurately measured before any wells are sunk. Exploration costs are projected to be reduced by at least 50%, finally making geothermal highly competitive with other energy sources.
The same precision techniques will also be used to locate productive new wells in existing fields, in order to boost their financial return. The technology is in a final testing phase with full field trials in Java, Indonesia, scheduled for completion in early 2019. Once fully proven, we expect GeoFlow Imaging to invigorate the geothermal sector and enable many low emission opportunities to be realised in the fight against climate change.
GeoFlow Imaging takes its seismic array methodology from flow-imaging practices, developed for monitoring stimulation of hydrocarbons trapped in natural flow systems in low-permeability shale formations.
The image below shows a wellbore drilled to intersect a high-flow region (red zones) in an otherwise unproductive low-flow (blue zones) shale formation.
GeoFlow Imaging adapts to geothermal flow systems the principle established in shale formation stimulation monitoring: no matter how complex is the crustal flow system, natural/artificial activation of crustal fluids can be detected by surface arrays of seismic sensors. Using a seismic velocity model for the crustal flow volume, the seismic emission from active flow units in the volume can be located by computer processing of surface sensors seismic records.
GeoFlow Imaging will innovate use of the surface seismic array to measure the seismic velocity structure of crustal volumes hosting geothermal flow systems. While shale formation geology allows the use of surface seismic reflection imaging to provide a local crustal velocity model for its imaging, the geology of convective geothermal system terrains is unsuitable for reflection imaging.
Accordingly, GeoFlow Imaging will construct crustal local velocity models using downhole seismic sourcing to create a large systematic suite of refraction pathway travel-time data between wellbore sources and the surface seismic sensor array. These travel-time data will be inverted to create a 3D velocity model of crustal volume hosting the convective geothermal flow system. Downhole seismic sourcing will employ airgun-like action of chemically-inert, high-temperature-proof, rapid-burn combustion products emitted at wellbore-benign subsonic velocities