Geothermal potential assessment of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano based on rock thermal conductivity measurements and numerical modeling of heat transfer
Vélez M.I., Blessent D., Córdoba S., López-Sánchez J., Raymond J.
Vélez, M.I., Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Centre Eau Terre Environnement, Québec, Qc, Canada; Blessent, D., Universidad de Medellín, Programa de Ingeniería Ambiental, Medellín, Colombia, Universidad de Medellín, Programa de Ingeniería Ambiental, Medellín, Colombia; Córdoba, S., Universidad de Medellín, Programa de Ingeniería Ambiental, Medellín, Colombia; López-Sánchez, J., Universidad de Medellín, Programa de Ingeniería Ambiental, Medellín, Colombia; Raymond, J., Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Centre Eau Terre Environnement, Québec, Qc, Canada
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This work presents an estimation of the geothermal potential of the Nevado del Ruiz (NDR) volcano, bridging the knowledge gap to develop geothermal energy in Colombia and improve resource estimates in South America. Field work, laboratory measurements, geological interpretations, 2D numerical modeling, and uncertainty analysis were conducted to the northwest of the NDR to assess temperature at depth and define thermal energy content. About 60 rock samples were collected at outcrops to measure thermal conductivity with a needle probe. A 2D numerical model, built from an inferred geological cross-section, was developed with the software OpenGeoSys to simulate the underground temperature distribution and then estimate the geothermal potential of a 1 km2 area with sufficient temperature, assuming a recovery factor equal to 2.4% and a 30 years exploitation time. Coupled groundwater flow and heat transfer were simulated in steady-state considering two different thermal conductivity scenarios. Results show that the average estimated potential is 1.5 × 10−2 MWt m−1 of the reservoir thickness, considering temperatures greater than 150 °C located at a depth of approximately 2 km, in a selected area situated outside of the Los Nevados National Natural Park (NNP), to avoid any direct intervention on this protected area. According to a Monte Carlo analysis considering pessimist and optimist scenarios of thermal conductivity, the estimated geothermal power was 1.54 × 10−2 MW m−1 (σ = 2.91 × 10−3 MW m−1) and 1.88 × 10−2 MW/m (σ = 2.91 × 10−3 MW m−1) for the two modeling scenario considered. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd
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