Geothermal play typing in Germany, case study Molasse Basin: a modern concept to categorise geothermal resources related to crustal permeability
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17209
The majority of running geothermal plants worldwide are located in geological settings with convection- or advection-dominant heat transport. In Germany as in most regions in Europe, conduction is the dominating heat transport mechanism, with a resulting average geothermal gradient. The geothermal play type concept is a modern methodology to group geothermal resources according to their geological setting, and characteristic heat transport mechanisms. In particular, the quantity of heat transport is related to fluid flow in natural or engineered geothermal reservoirs. Hence, the permeability structure is a key element for geothermal play typing. Following the existing geothermal play type catalogue, four major geothermal play types can be identified for Germany: intracratonic basins, foreland basins and basement/crystalline rock provinces as conduction-dominated play types, and extensional terrains as the convection-dominated play type. The installed capacity of geothermal facilities sums up to 397.1 MWth by the end of 2018. District heating plants accounted for the largest portion, with about 337.0 MWth. The majority of these installations are located in the play type ‘foreland basin’, namely the Molasse Basin in southern Germany. The stratigraphic unit for geothermal use is the Upper Jurassic, also known as ‘Malm’ formation, a carbonate reservoir with high variability in porosity and permeability. Recently drilled wells in the southernmost Molasse Basin indicate the Upper Jurassic as a tight, fracture-controlled reservoir, not usable for conventional hydrothermal well doublets. Our new data compilation including the recently drilled deep geothermal well Geretsried reveals the relation of porosity and permeability to depth. The results suggest that obviously diagenetic processes control permeability with depth in carbonate rock, diminishing the predictability of reservoir porosity and permeability. The play type concept helps to delineate these property variations in play type levels because it is based on geological constraints, common for exploration geology. Following the general idea of play typing, the results from this play analysis can be transferred to geological analogues as carbonate rock play levels in varying depth.