The Fluids Laboratory is used primarily as by CAES geothermal and carbon management researchers. It contains several high pressure and temperature “reactors” in which researchers can test a variety of reservoir rocks and fluids at formation-relevant temperatures and pressures. These formation fluids and rocks play a critical role in the development of strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
CAES researchers are also studying how to turn the hot water flowing beneath Idaho into an economical source of geothermal energy. CAES researchers are focusing on enhanced geothermal energy systems – a technology in which fluid is injected into hot, dry rock that has been fractured to extract heat that can be used to generate power.
- CAES researchers are studying how to use large-scale geologic thermal energy storage (GeoTES) to provide grid resiliency while facilitating larger penetration of renewable energy sources.
- Researchers evaluate several subsurface characteristics when identifying a potential site for Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), including temperature, rock permeability and mechanical properties, earth stress directions and fluid.
- Researchers in the Fluids Lab are studying enhanced geothermal systems, carbon sequestration methods to capture and contain CO2, one of the primary greenhouse gases.
- They are also studying how to improve the accuracy of geothermal reservoir temperature predictions to save on energy exploration cost.
- Lab Layout (click on image to enlarge):
Scientists in the Fluids Laboratory are working to understand the chemical reactions between carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the primary greenhouse gases, and basaltic rock to investigate carbon sequestration as a strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas effects. Certain types of rock, such as basalt, are rich in metallic ions like calcium, magnesium and iron. When CO2 is injected deep into basalt formations, it dissolves in water and reacts with these ions to produce carbonate minerals (such as calcium carbonate). CO2 is thus locked into solid, stable rock. CAES scientists are researching carbon sequestration methods and studying how to capture and store greenhouse gases.
The potential of this process is huge — basalt makes up about 65 percent of the Earth’s crust. According to a recent paper in the journal Energy Procedia, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate off the United States’ northwest coast could hold up 700 billion tons of CO2 by itself — far more than the 33 billion tons produced by humans every year.
- CAES researchers studied a naturally occurring CO2 system located near Soda Springs, Idaho to better understand how the gas moves through the subsurface, and its impact on groundwater resources.
- CAES/INL scientists are members of the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership, one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s seven regional carbon sequestration consortiums.
- Researchers are working to improve the accuracy of geothermal reservoir temperature predictions, which could help reduce geothermal exploration costs.
Fluids Virtual Tour
Fact Sheet | EGS
Enhance Geothermal Systems