CO-AX PROJECT: Review the Opportunities and Constraints of Existing Numerical Modelling Software for Deep Geothermal Coaxial Boreholes
Agua Enodo successfully applied for funding through Deep Digital Cornwall (DDC) to model coaxial borehole heat exchangers for both fluid flow and heat energy within a single borehole at 3-5 km depth. Agua Enodo’s Research and Innovation Project has been undertaken as part of a collaboration between Agua Enodo, Cornish Lithium and DDC.
Nature of intervention
In this project, different modelling software packages have been compared to promote the up-take of geothermal resources, as part of the solution to move Cornwall, the UK, and the world towards Net Zero targets. By refining coaxial flow models in borehole heat exchangers, Agua Enodo will enable the geothermal energy sector to understand the cost-benefits of a coaxial system, and de-risk the drilling of multiple boreholes that could otherwise be prohibitively expensive. Furthermore, difficulties linked to lengthy contractor engagements should be avoided.
Agua Enodo have been modelling the coaxial flows from deep geothermal projects not only in Cornwall, where there is high heat flow from the underlying granite batholith, but also in two selected sites in Europe, where such modelling is being undertaken in two distinct geological settings.
This modelling involves using real and synthetic data from Cornish Lithium in Cornwall as well as a number of third parties, such as ERDWERK in Germany, to help build different models under different conditions in each modelling software package. Without these formal collaborations, none of this work would have been possible.
Value of any grant support
This Research and Innovation Project received a total grant of £46k from the DDC Grant Fund in November 2022.
How the DDC connection occurred
DDC contacted Huw Williams of Agua Enodo about the possibility of attending and presenting at the DDC Groundwater event held at the Eden Project in December 2021. From this conversation it emerged Agua Enodo were eligible for DDC support and had exciting research ideas to explore.
What the business assist/grant has achieved
Initial results have been generated to show the dynamic effects on heat production over a period of up to 5 years within a deep, wide-diameter, single borehole where coaxial fluid injection and production occur. The image used for the link to this case study is a still from this dynamic model. Also, a link to a short video of the initial results on LinkedIn is found here: Agua Enodo Model.
Plans for the future, incl. data on DDC Data Hub
As the project progresses, new models are continually being developed to test the effects on coaxial flow and heat production with different input parameters. These models are to be made available through the DDC Hub, and in geo-located model visualisations within the DDC 3D Visualisation Suite. Agua Enodo would like to present the work from this project to students at Camborne School of Mines (University of Exeter) with the aim of fostering new relationships between industry and its future generation of engineers and scientists. Further, Agua Enodo would look to support one or more PhD students in Camborne School of Mines on relevant research topics within the deep geothermal field of study.