Innovation – real-time data processing of gas analytics during geothermal exploration
Processing data from field studies during geothermal exploration in real-time through an app is the concept by the team of fluxtec, a spin-off from Helmholtz Centre Potsdam's GFZ German Research Centre for Geoscience.
In its recent newsletter the German research center for geosciences GFZ of the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, shared a number of interesting updates on its activities related to geothermal energy.
Among them, was the reference to a new innovative software application that could considerably optimize soil gas surveys with real-time data processing during field studies.
The fluxtec app team has been awarded with the GFZ innovation fund for the development of its innovative software application. Currently, fluxtec App is under development for real-time visualization and automated processing of gas emission data on mobile devices during field studies. This will minimize the time lag between data collection and evaluation, and has the great advantage to allow fast readjustments of the sampling approach on site. Furthermore, fluxtec App will support an easy exchange of data between multiple teams, and is available for all common operating systems.
In a second phase, fluxtec App will focus on the development of software tools for long-term monitoring of geothermal reservoirs. We build on experiences from international research projects (e.g., “GEMex”). Our goal is to offer solutions for the processing and integration of multi-parameter data streams and facilitate the joint interpretation with other variables, so the team behind the app, Egbert Jolie, Anna Jentsch, and Walter Düsing.
Helmholtz Enterprise supports scientists in the Helmholtz Association to work entrepreneurial and start a wellthought-out business. The spin-off project fluxtec aims to offer innovative soil gas analytics in the early phase of geothermal exploration and during reservoir operations. Anna Jentsch and Egbert Jolie explain what fluxtec is all about.
What is the idea behind fluxtec?
The exploration phase in geothermal projects is of utmost importance as the results indicate whether a geothermal resource is viable for utilization or not. fluxtec plans to support engineers and decision makers in the assessment of a potential reservoir. We provide fast, real-time and multiscale solutions, which can also be applied in some of the most difficult terrains.
How does it work?
Our expertise and technologies help identifying and characterizing permeable fluid pathways on reservoir scale, which is the key for the optimized planning of geothermal wells. Gas analytics have the capability to detect direct evidence of active geothermal systems before investing into costly exploration drillings. Our equipment enables us to measure even smallest gas emissions originating from the deep underground.
What is fluxtec’s value proposition?
Our future services have the primary goal to reduce financial risks in geothermal exploration. Once utilization of a field has started, fluxtec will provide suitable long-term monitoring concepts for reservoir management and risk assessment as requested by law for different subsurface activities. This addresses also concerns of the general population related to the safe, environmentally friendly and sustainable utilization of georesources.
What is your practical experience?
The value of our research and development has been demonstrated in international projects with industry partners over the past 10 years as for example in Iceland, Mexico, Ethiopia, New Zealand, and the U.S. The technology is ready for the market. Interested users can already take advantage of it based on contract research with our team at the GFZ until fluxtec is established as a legal entity.
Who are your main target groups?
Our portfolio addresses the specific needs of geothermal project developers and power plant operators. However, gas emissions are not only restricted to geothermal fields. For that reason, we also consider operators of gas storage systems (CCS, CH4, H2), landfills, and even radioactive waste repositories as potential customers, who need to ensure a safe and sustainable utilization of the geological underground. All this makes fluxtec a reliable partner for customers in industry, academia and public authorities.
- Jentsch et al. (2020). Magmatic volatiles to assess permeable volcano-tectonic structures in the Los Humeros geothermal field, Mexico. JVGR, 394, 106820. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2020.106820
- Jolie et al. (2019). Pinpointing deep geothermal upflow in zones of complex tectono-volcanic degassing: New insights from Aluto volcano, Main Ethiopian Rift. G-Cubed, 20(8), 4146-4161. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GC008309
- Jolie et al. (2016). Linking gas fluxes at Earth’s surface with fracture zones in an active geothermal field. Geology, 44(3), 187-190. https://doi.org/10.1130/G37412.1
Source: GFZ Potsdam Geothermal Newsletter, republished with permission