Hot water injection into geothermal aquifers is considered in order to store energy seasonally. Berea sandstone is often used as a reference formation to study mechanisms that affect permeability in reservoir sandstones. Both heating of the pore fluid and reduction of the pore fluid salinity can reduce permeability in Berea sandstone. These effects could be caused by mobilisation of fines by increasing the repulsive electrical double layer forces among sandstone grains and the fines. We investigated the reversibility and the dependence on flow velocity and flow direction of the permeability change by means of flow through experiments and examined thin sections of samples prior to and after tests. A permeability reduction at 20. °C with decreasing salinity was not reversed by restoring the salinity, whereas a permeability reduction due to heating to 80. °C was reversible by restoring the temperature to 20. °C. A reversible permeability increase with increasing flow rate was observed at 80. °C but not at 20. °C. We observed no difference in the distribution of kaolinite clay minerals in thin sections of untested and tested samples. Dissolution of iron bearing carbonates and precipitation of iron hydroxides was observed but no effect on permeability was found. The experimental results suggest that different mechanisms are responsible for permeability reduction depending on temperature and salinity.
- Programområde 3: Energiressourcer