The Geothermal Energy & Geofluids group is endowed by the Werner Siemens Foundation and investigates reactive fluid (water, CO2, CxHy, N2) and (geothermal) energy (heat, pressure) transfer in the Earth’s crust employing computer simulations, laboratory experiments and field analyses to gain fundamental insights and to address a wide range of societal goals and concerns. ➞ Read More
New GEG XRCT Website published
ETH Medal: Distinction of Doctoral Thesis – Edoardo Rossi
EASYGO Project granted
Read more – ITN EASYGO Webpage
Earth Sciences at ETH Zurich 7th time in a row Nr. 1 worldwide
2020 MIT A+B Best Paper Award
2019 WRR Editors’ Choice Award
© Shannon Gilley
Newest GEG Papers
Refereed journal papers accepted the last 6 months
Underlined names are links to current or past GEG members
Plasma Pulse Geo Drilling (PPGD) is a contact-less drilling technique, where an electric discharge across a rock sample causes the rock to fracture.
Experimental results have shown PPGD drilling operations are successful if certain electrode spacings, pulse voltages, and pulse rise times are given.
However, the underlying physics of the electric breakdown within the rock, which cause damage in the process, are still poorly understood.
This study presents a novel methodology to numerically study plasma generation for electric pulses between 200 to 500 kV in rock pores with a width between 10 and 100 \(\mu\)m. We further investigate whether the pressure increase, induced by the plasma generation, is sufficient to cause rock fracturing, which is indicative of the onset of drilling success.
We find that rock fracturing occurs in simulations with a 100 \(\mu\)m. pore size and an imposed pulse voltage of approximately 400 kV. Furthermore, pulses with voltages lower than 400 kV induce damage near the electrodes, which expands from pulse to pulse, and eventually, rock fracturing occurs. Additionally, we find that the likelihood for fracturing increases with increasing pore voltage drop, which increases with pore size, electric pulse voltage, and rock effective relative permittivity while being inversely proportional to the rock porosity and pulse rise time.