The geothermal test well, commissioned during a ceremony with partners and government officials present, is now ready to simulate geothermal flow testing to accelerate technology development and commercially scale geothermal as a baseload energy supply.
The test well, located in the Baker Hughes Energy Innovation Centre at the Hamm Institute for American Energy, was refurbished in 2023 with the support of Wells2Watts' consortium partners and technology providers. It will simulate relevant geothermal subsurface environments to test the closed-loop system for several well configurations, validate engineering performance models, and offer scale for field pilot efforts. Initial testing includes GreenFire Energy's technology, GreenFire's GreenLoop, and ICE Thermal Harvesting's heat-to-power system that uses Organic Rankine Cycle technology as an input.
Investing in research and development
"Collaborating with other organisations, investing in research and development, and partnering with startups are all critical to making geothermal energy more accessible and affordable," Maria Claudia Borras, executive vice president of Oilfield Services and Equipment at Baker Hughes, said. "The completion of the Wells2Watts geothermal test well is a momentous step in our commitment to delivering new sources of energy to meet the world's increasing demand."
Alongside several state and federal government officials in Oklahoma City at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the consortium's industry partners also welcomed new member California Resources Corporation (CRC), an independent energy and carbon management company committed to energy transition.
"CRC is excited to join the Wells2Watts geothermal energy consortium, and we look forward to collaborating with its members to accelerate technology development and expand geothermal energy in California," Francisco Leon, president and CEO of California Resources Corporation, said. "California has ambitious climate goals, and CRC is committed to providing the state with real solutions to help meet its decarbonisation targets and a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply."
CRC is excited to join the Wells2Watts geothermal energy consortium
Next steps for the consortium this year include identifying a pilot location so that learnings from the test well can be tested in 2024. The pilot project will supply field learnings and help understand scalability through existing oil and gas infrastructure. Future testing could also include advances in the system and testing new working fluids in the well such as supercritical CO2.
Launched in December 2022, the Wells2Watts geothermal consortium focuses on how technology can retrofit a well at the end of its productive life for geothermal energy and renewable electricity production. Largely funded by its industry partners, which in addition to CRC includes Continental Resources, INPEX CORPORATION, and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the consortium also receives support from technology providers through in-kind materials and labour contributions for construction, testing and piloting purposes. Those providers include Vallourec, GreenFire Energy and ICE Thermal Harvesting.
Baker Hughes has been a leader in geothermal energy development for over 40 years, bringing reliable heat and power production to over 25 different countries. Wells2Watts will initially focus on closed-loop projects with the intent to look at other technologies important to scaling geothermal in regions where geothermal isn't developed today. The consortium was formed in November 2022 and is part of a collaboration between Baker Hughes' existing Oilfield Services and Equipment New Energy and Carbon Management business and the Baker Hughes Energy Innovation Centre.
Got a story? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org