Geothermal energy
Our solutions

The technological solutions developed by IFPEN concern problems covering the entire geothermal value chain:

  • exploration:
    • of geothermal potential: temperature, permeability, pressure,
    • of risks: H2S, CO2, hydrocarbons, salinity,
  • long-term sustainability of production,
  • maintenance of re-injectivity,
  • evaluation and limitation of the environmental and ecological impact:
    • work on the re-injection of non-condensable gases,
    • life cycle analysis,
  • improvement in the profitability of operations, particularly by integrating the production of rare metals,
  • technical/economic feasibility.
Geothermal energy

Our research focuses on the following three geological fields:

  • sedimentary basins,
  • fractured reservoirs,
  • deep and ultra-deep magma zones.

Heat production in sedimentary basins

The challenge with the development of geothermal energy in sedimentary basins lies in the capacity to reduce the risk associated with exploration by conducting reliable evaluations:

  • of the potential: temperature, permeability, pressure, reservoir connectivity, re-injection capacity, field flow direction and speed,
  • of risks: CO2, H2S, hydrocarbons, salinity. 
Géothermie - modèles de bassins

 « The basin models we have developed, initially for oil and gas exploration, enable us to model:

  • sedimentary heterogeneity resulting from the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of the basin
  • deposits, compaction and flows throughout the basin’s history, in order to:
    • evaluate associated temperatures, pressures, porosities and permeabilities,
    • gain an understanding of fluid flow and geochemical behavior, particularly the evolution of salinity and CO2 and H2S generation

Using this information, we are capable of:

  • evaluating the risks associated with fluid chemistry and the associated additional costs,
  • anticipating the constraints associated with re-injection.

Storengy turned to our multidisciplinary expertise to establish a long-term partnership based on a framework agreement signed in 2018: our objective is to synthesize knowledge of a basin - in this case the Upper Rhine Plain - and use it in the exploration of its geothermal potential. The interest shown by the Avenia competitiveness cluster in our tools is likely to lead to a partnership for a study of the Aquitaine basin. »

Christine Souque, Geothermal Energy project manager, IFPEN

Geothermal energy in fractured reservoirs

Understanding naturally fractured reservoirs is a prerequisite for their exploitation for geothermal production purposes. Several aspects need to be taken into account:

  • the origin of the natural fracturing,
  • the evolution of the fracture network with production,
  • the evolution of related production potential, such as lithium,
  • corrosion and deposit risks.
géothermie - socles fracturés
 Brun et al., 1992

« We have a well flow model, developed by our geoscience engineers, that can be used to study the corrosion and deposit risks specific to fractured reservoirs: we are planning to make it available to collaborative projects currently being set up.»

Christine Souque, Geothermal Energy project manager, IFPEN


Geothermal energy in the deep magma environment

For their geothermal exploitation, two-phase or high-temperature steam, or even ultra-high-temperature supercritical geothermal reservoirs demand:

  • an understanding of the fluid paths,
  • knowledge of the thermodynamics and geochemistry of natural systems,
  • management of the risks of corrosion and deposit formation,
  • the ability to produce and re-inject non-condensable gases.

« We are studying the exploitation of reservoirs in the deep magma environment within the framework of the European GECO project. The objective is to draw on experience relating to the re-injection of non-condensable gases acquired in the H2020 CarbFix project in Iceland to set up a zero-emissions geothermal operation in Italy. »

Christine Souque, Geothermal Energy project manager, IFPEN


Logiciel CooresFlow

« The prototype of our CooresFlow software for the modeling of underground storage facility behavior boasts functionalities such as:

  • porous media drying modeling,
  • counter-current water displacement by capillary re-imbibition,
  • salt transport,
  • the evolution of porosity and permeability.

They are validated and exploited in a geothermal context, a context that represents extreme conditions for the simulator. The results obtained will enable us to more precisely take into account the needs of geothermal operators. »

Isabelle Faille, CooresFlow project manager, IFPEN



Florence Delprat-Jannaud

  • Program manager: “CO2 capture” and “Management of the underground environment for NETs”