Geothermo-mechanical alterations due to heat energy extraction in enhanced geothermal systems: Overview and prospective directions

Mary C. Ngoma, Oladoyin Kolawole, Olufemi Olorode

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Geothermal energy from deep underground (or geological) formations, with or without its combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS), can be a key technology to mitigate anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and meet the 2050 net-zero carbon emission target. Geothermal resources in low-permeability and medium- and high-temperature reservoirs in sedimentary sequence require hydraulic stimulation for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). However, fluid migration for geothermal energy in EGS or with potential CO2 storage in a CO2-EGS are both dependent on the in situ flow pathway network created by induced fluid injection. These thermo-mechanical interactions can be complex and induce varying alterations in the mechanical response when the working fluid is water (in EGS) or supercritical CO2 (in CO2-EGS), which could impact the geothermal energy recovery from geological formations. Therefore, there is a need for a deeper understanding of the heat extraction process in EGS and CO2-EGS. This study presents a systematic review of the effects of changes in mechanical properties and behavior of deep underground rocks on the induced flow pathway and heat recovery in EGS reservoirs with or without CO2 storage in CO2-EGS. Further, we proposed waterless-stimulated EGS as an alternative approach to improve heat energy extraction in EGS. Lastly, based on the results of our literature review and proposed ideas, we recommend promising areas of investigation that may provide more insights into understanding geothermo-mechanics to further stimulate new research studies and accelerate the development of geothermal energy as a viable clean energy technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDeep Underground Science and Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


  • CO-EGS
  • enhanced geothermal systems
  • geomechanics
  • geothermal energy
  • underground thermal energy


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