Nicolás Rangel Jurado

Colombian earth scientist with BSc and MSc degrees in Geological Sciences. Highly proficient in field practices, hydrogeology, numerical modeling, fluid dynamics, and thermal geophysics particularly oriented towards geothermal exploration and deployment. His academic and work experiences in renewable energy are applicable and transferable to a broad range of projects in the energy-mining sector worldwide.

He participated in field campaigns and masters various state-of-the-art software and coding languages. He has no doubt that geothermal energy should be at the cornerstone of scalable decarbonization of most modern societies given its clean, ubiquitous and reliable nature. 

  • MSc Geological Engineering CORNELL UNIVERSITY | ITHACA, NY, USA (May 2021)

Project Title: Option of using CO2 instead of water as the subsurface energy extraction fluid in EGS and in sedimentary basins
Host Institutions: ETH Zürich, RWTH Aachen, TU Delft, Geoenergie Suisse
Supervisory Team: Martin Saar, Florian Wellmann, Maren Brehme, Peter Meier
Start date: 15.7.2021

ESR Objectives:

Initial results have shown that using CO2 as the subsurface working fluid can considerably improve the efficiency of geothermal energy extraction, while likely reducing fluid-mineral reactions. However, this topic needs to be further investigated, as most publications to date are on theoretical and numerical investigations.

What is missing are actual field investigations, where CO2 is injected and circulated through (geothermal) rocks, for example at the Bedretto Underground Laboratory in Switzerland and possibly at CO2 Storage sites, such as Aquistore in Canada.

We would also like to explore potential cross-fertilizations between CO2-driven EGS systems in crystalline rocks and CO2-Plume Geothermal systems (CPG) in sedimentary rocks. 

Research Update

During the first 4 months of his doctoral program, Nicolás Rangel Jurado (ESR07) and his academic advisor (Professor Martin Saar) have drafted a tentative plan to address his research topic, related to the feasibility of CO2-based geothermal energy extraction under field conditions. For the initial stage of this plan, Nicolás has started doing probabilistic geological modeling using a novel, open-source code called GemPy, to provide a more realistic characterization of geothermal reservoirs. This code, which was developed by one the EASYGO partner universities (RWTH Aachen), allows the researcher to quantify the high degree of uncertainty that is inherent the Earth Sciences given that subsurface data tend to be limited, sparse and noisy. Considering that the ultimate goal of Nicolas’ PhD program is to perform a CO2-based geothermal energy extraction pilot, after extensive literature review, Professor Saar and Nicolás have decided to model the Éclépens region in Western Switzerland. Thus, the agreement to acquire the subsurface data for this region has recently been signed between ETH Zurich and the Cantonal Museum of Vaud in October 2021. Hence, the data (that include well logs, raw seismic 2D and 3D surveys, and interpreted horizons) will be transferred to the ESR in the coming weeks and he expects to complete the first stochastic geological model for this Swiss geothermal prospect by November or December 2021.

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