Collaborative research between Eavor and Sinton Lab reveals how phase change slurries can optimize closed-loop technology

Published in the Renewable Energy journal, Eavor’s Matt Toews, Michael Holmes, and Vlad Zatonski’s collaborative research with Sinton Lab has unearthed new knowledge about phase change slurries (PCS), proving the fluid’s vitality to enhance closed-loop systems.

The publication was showcased in a LinkedIn post by Vikram Soni, where the article titled “Performance Analysis of Phase Change Slurries for Closed-Loop Geothermal System” introduced results of the joint research, which could provide opportunity to utilize this new knowledge in a way that benefits future Geoenergy systems.

The study aimed to assess and de-risk the application of PCSs in a closed-loop system, which could ultimately make energy extraction more efficient. The behaviors of PCSs are tested under extreme geological conditions several kilometres underground to test the fluid’s durability under different temperatures and states of matter. In doing so, it could be determined that the PCSs had the stability needed to optimally extract heat without compromising the operation of the closed-loop system or breaking down over time.

Essentially, the phase change of PCS has the potential to improve not only the transfer of heat from the subsurface, but also the thermosiphon force needed to cycle the working fluid.

The abstract explained that in order to improve subsurface heat transfer rates: “further advancement in geo-fluids is needed that can outperform conventional pumping fluids such as water, supercritical CO2, or brine. The thermal capacity of conventional working fluids is limited to their sensible heat capacity.”

According to the conclusion of the article, the research showed promising results: “PCS fluids are de-risked as geo-fluids employing experimental (thermal, physical, chemical, and rheological) and numerical (optimizing operational controls for maximum output) analysis. Two PCM-based slurries possess a small mean particle size, negligible phase segregation, chemical stability, and low viscosity with shear thinning behavior. Both PCSs have favorable thermodynamic behaviour considering their high latent content, low supercooling, and narrow mushy zone.”

This collaboration unveils the potential of PCS fluids to optimize subsurface heat transfer and fluid circulation. Furthermore, it could advance Geoenergy systems and have potential to pave the way for innovative approaches to sustainable energy extraction.

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