Enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs) allow the enormous untapped potential of geothermal energy to be put to widespread use. EGS measures aim to improve the productivity of a geothermal reservoir by increasing the transmissivity of reservoir rocks. The overall goal of DESTRESS is to optimise stimulation treatments while minimising environmental impacts such as seismic events or pollution of groundwater reservoirs. As well as controlled enhancement of the reservoir, sustainable operation also presents a challenge: newly opened fractures may close again due to reduced reservoir pressure or chemical interaction with fluid.

DESTRESS aims to demonstrate an EGS development approach taking site-specific geological requirements into account.

It has three overall objectives:

The DESTRESS concept will be applied at several sites in order to demonstrate the concept in a variety of geological environments that are representative of large parts of Europe. In general, a soft stimulation approach is being adopted, in other words a stimulation treatment with minimised environmental hazard. In all cases, risks will be managed at each site, with a demonstration of the reduced environmental footprint, and lessons learnt will be disseminated to the public. All steps included in the DESTRESS approach are designed to be transferable to other sites, so that the concepts can become the basis for a standardised procedure in the development of EGS projects.

The concepts are based on experience in previous projects, on developments in other fields, mainly the oil and gas sector, and on scientific progress made on topics such as fluid-rock interaction enabling the application of a soft stimulation approach, more accurate determination of the stress field and the analysis of induced seismicity.