WEFO sponsors Geothermal Feasibility Study


Rockfield have been provided with funding through the WEFO (Welsh European Funding Office) programme in order to enhance the level of capability held within the Elfen software framework to undertake Geothermal applications. A number of key developments are required for this capability and a feasibility study funded by WEFO has enabled Rockfield to fund this internal research activity.

A number of modelling features and enhancements are required to suitably represent a typical geothermal application.

  1. The injected fluid, initially ‘cold’ at surface, will travel to the deepest part of the system along the outside of the insulted inner tube.
  2. The injected fluid will be heated via a heat exchange with the formation via a non-circulated fluid filled annulus.
  3. The heated ‘hot’ fluid will then travel upwards to surface within the fully insulated inner tube.


Therefore, the major factors to consider in order to predict the fluid fluctuation of temperature through this geothermal system will be:

  • Formation temperature distribution (from surface to bottomhole)
  • Formation thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity
  • Injection fluid thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity
  • Annulus fluid thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity
  • Inlet circulation temperature of fluid
  • Thermal conductivity of outer tube of closed system
  • Heat transfer coefficients between fluid and surrounding bodies.


Furthermore, since convection is a key heat transfer mechanism, the following properties/parameters of the fluid flow are also important:

  • Circulation rate
  • Pressure loss due to friction
  • Fluid viscosity
  • Fluid density including changes due to pressure/temperature

Based upon the above tasks required, Rockfield have completed a feasibility study to see what the effects of these developments will have on the existing framework contained within the Elfen software and also to check that all of these above recognised developments are actually critical in providing a fit-for-purpose solution.

Key project deliverables:

The key project deliverables from this feasibility study will be a report that encapsulates all of the required tasks that are needed to enable the Elfen software to simulate a typical geothermal application.


Market requirement:

There is a need within the industry for companies to better understand the geothermal conditions in order to increase efficiently and economically produce clean energy. Due to the recent pressures on the Oil & Gas operators there is a more urgent need to reduce carbon and improve renewable operations.



Many of the software’s available on the market today do not provide enough physics in their models and rely on assumptions in a variety of different areas within the geothermal process. All of these assumptions provide uncertainty of the inter-dependant process in the subsurface region. There is a need for a full-physics approach to enable accurate assessments of the effects of continuous geothermal energy.

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