U.S. Research Award Targets Predictive Corrosion, Mineral Scaling Models

Geothermal environments can be extremely corrosive, which makes corrosion management critical to asset performance and operational efficiency. Graphic courtesy of OLI Systems.

OLI Systems (Parsippany, New Jersey, USA), which describes itself as a global leader in delivering process design and operations insights for complex chemical processes, recently received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

This SBIR award from DOE, which is worth $1,100,000 in total, was presented to the company’s advanced process simulation. This technology aims to mitigate the risks of corrosion and mineral scaling in geothermal energy production.

According to OLI, geothermal environments can be extremely corrosive. In turn, this makes corrosion management critical to asset performance and operational efficiency. Mineral scaling from geothermal fluids is another major obstacle, fouling devices, wells, and aquifers.

Based on these challenges, this project aims to address the lack of a rigorous, predictive tool to mitigate scaling and corrosion risk in geothermal energy production with a fully physics-based model and software-based solutions to lower the cost of geothermal systems.

Two-Phase Project

In the first phase of this project, OLI’s mixed solvent electrolyte (MSE) corrosion model was used to predict electrochemical kinetics and localized corrosion with limited experimental validation to demonstrate feasibility.

In the second phase, the corrosion model will be further extended with experimental data to include a variety of environments. These environments will be representative of enhanced geothermal systems, along with additional alloys that are representative of the broadest range of corrosion-resistant alloys likely to be found in geothermal applications.

The group says its existing MSE thermodynamic model will be enhanced to predict the formation of mineral scales that may occur in various crystalline and amorphous forms of carbonates, sulfates, silicates, and sulfides—all the way up to high salinity conditions.

Future Ambitions

Going forward, the model will be incorporated in future versions of OLI’s cloud platform to enable real-time monitoring and process automation, along with the Windows platform. These new capabilities will enable accurate estimations of technical and financial risk for geothermal energy production, according to the company.

Broader benefits of the project include the ability to model electrochemical kinetics in systems involved with energy storage and metal separation applications.

About OLI Systems

For over five decades, OLI Systems has been a pioneer in water chemistry and applications in industrial processes that enhance operational efficiency, sustainability, and engineering productivity.

The company provides domain expertise with an extensive chemistry property database, thermodynamic and kinetic models, and proven software platforms. The group aims to build strategic global partnerships to accelerate industrial digital transformation while providing expert consulting services to enable process and asset lifecycle optimization.

Source: OLI Systems, www.olisystems.com.

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