Numerical modelling of Alpine deep flow systems: a management and prediction tool for an exploited geothermal reservoir (Lavey-les-Bains, Switzerland) = Modélisation numérique des systèmes alpins d'écoulement profond: un outil de gestion et de prédiction pour un réservoir géothermique en exploitation (Lavey-les-Bains, Suisse)

Sonney, Romain ; Vuataz, François-David

In: Hydrogeology Journal, 2009, vol. 17, no. 3, p. 601-616

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    The geothermal site of Lavey-les-Bains, Switzerland is an Alpine deep flow system in fractured crystalline rocks. Groundwater analyses since 1973 reveal a mixing process between a deep warm component (68°C and TDS 1.4g/L) and cold shallow water. The production rate of the new deep well P600, installed in 1997, has amplified this mixing process in well P201, for which a decline in temperature and TDS has been observed. Numerical hydrogeological two-dimensional and three-dimensional models of heat, flow and mass transport have been developed to reproduce the geothermal system and to forecast the long-term exploitation potential of the geothermal resource. The computed temperature of the deep inferred reservoir (100-130°C) is in agreement with the geothermometers, whereas the simulated thermal water flux (5,400-9,000m3/day) is probably underestimated. Different fluid production scenarios can reproduce the decline and stabilization phases of temperatures in the geothermal field since 1997. For P201, the mixing ratio calculated before and during the exploitation of P600 is comparable with observed data; the modelled temperature tends towards stabilization in P201 at 56°C after 10-15years of production at P600. Another proposed new well is likely to reduce the thermal output of the existing wells