Base Technologies and Tools for Supercritical Reservoirs Geothermal Lab Call Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Base Technologies and Tools for Supercritical Reservoirs
Project Type / Topic 1 Laboratory Call for Submission of Applications for Research, Development and Analysis of Geothermal Technologies
Project Type / Topic 2 High-Temperature Downhole Tools

Project Description Development of downhole tools capable of reliable operation in supercritical environments is a significant challenge with a number of technical and operational hurdles related to both the hardware and electronics design. Hardware designs require the elimination of all elastomer seals and the use of advanced materials. Electronics must be hardened to the extent practicable since no electronics system can survive supercritical temperatures. To develop systems capable of logging in these environments will require a number of developments. More robust packaging of electronics is needed. Sandia will design and develop innovated, highly integrated, high-temperature (HT) data loggers. These data loggers will be designed and developed using silicon-on-insulator/silicon carbide (SOI/SiC) technologies integrated into a MultiChip Module (MCM); greatly increasing the reliability of the overall system (eliminating hundreds of board-level innerconnects) and decreasing the size of the electronics package. Tools employing these electronics will be capable of operating continuously at temperatures up to 240 °C and by using advanced Dewar flasks, will operate in a supercritical reservoir with temperatures over 450 °C and pressures above 70 MPa. Dewar flasks are needed to protect the electronic components, but those currently available are only reliable in temperature regimes in the range of 350 °C; promising advances in materials will be investigated to improve Dewar technologies. HT wireline currently used for logging operations is compromised at temperatures above 300 °C; along with exploring the development of a HT wireline for logging purposes, alternative approaches that employ HT batteries (e.g., those awarded a recent R&D 100) will also be investigated, and if available will enable deployment using slickline, which is not subject to the same temperature limitations as wireline. To demonstrate the capability provided by these improvements, tools will be developed and fielded. The developed base technologies and working tool designs will be available to industry throughout the project period. The developed techniques and subsystems will help to further the advancement of HT tools needed in the geothermal industry.
State New Mexico
Objectives Develop robust downhole tools that can operate in supercritical environments.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Sandia National Laboratories

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-PS36-09GO99017

DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $941,000.00

Total Project Cost $941,000.00

Principal Investigator(s) Joseph Henfling

Targets / Milestones - Laboratory evaluation of subsystems and field deployment results from developed high-temperature tools.

- Develop and test a Dewarless 240C PTC (Pressure/Temperature/Collar Counter) tool.
- Design and fabricate a prototype Dear Flasked PTC tool that operates at 450C.
- Develop Dewar Flasked Fluid Sampler that can operate at ~450C.

Location of Project Albuquerque, NM

Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs