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Cavitation-based hydro-fracturing technique for geothermal reservoir stimulation

United States Patent

February 21, 2017
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Visit the Partnerships Directorate Website
A rotary shutter valve 500 is used for geothermal reservoir stimulation. The valve 500 includes a pressure chamber 520 for holding a working fluid (F) under pressure. A rotatable shutter 532 is turned with a powering device 544 to periodically align one or more windows 534 with one or more apertures 526 in a bulkhead 524. When aligned, the pressurized working fluid (F) flows through the bulkhead 524 and enters a pulse cavity 522, where it is discharged from the pulse cavity 522 as pressure waves 200. The pressure wave propagation 200 and eventual collapse of the bubbles 202 can be transmitted to a target rock surface 204 either in the form of a shock wave 206, or by micro jets 208, depending on the bubble-surface distance. Once cavitation at the rock face begins, fractures are initiated in the rock to create a network of micro-fissures for enhanced heat transfer.
Wang; Jy-An John (Oak Ridge, TN), Wang; Hong (Oak Ridge, TN), Ren; Fei (Philadelphia, PA), Cox; Thomas S. (Oak Ridge, TN)
UT-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge, TN)
14/ 224,367
March 25, 2014
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.