Category: Geothermal

DOE announces $12 million to advance geothermal energy technologies

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 15, 2021.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $12 million for technologies that can make geothermal systems more efficient for clean, renewable energy production. This funding will help scientists and engineers unlock the full potential of geothermal power to help tackle the climate crisis, and achieve the Biden Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are man-made reservoirs created by injecting fluid into “hot rock,” which is heated by the natural warmth of the Earth’s core. The fluid re-opens pre-existing fractures, allowing it to circulate through the hot rock, and bring the heated water to the surface. That hot water becomes steam that spins a turbine, creating clean, renewable energy.

“Enhanced geothermal systems harness the clean, renewable energy that lives right beneath our feet—available at any time, in any weather, in any part of the country. This new funding will help us tap into its enormous potential to power millions of homes and businesses, reduce carbon emissions, and put thousands to work in greener, good-paying jobs.”

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm

The “Innovative Methods to Control Hydraulic Properties of Enhanced Geothermal Systems” funding opportunity will support the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and techniques to control the fluid flow in EGS reservoirs, enhancing the connectivity of pre-existing fracture networks and optimizing them for heat mining. This ability to customize reservoirs will increase their efficiency and longevity—driving down EGS costs, reducing the risk of development, and accelerating the path towards widespread commercialization.

The 2019 GeoVision study by DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) concluded that with technology improvements like those funded by today’s announcement, geothermal power generation could increase 26-fold, deploying 60 gigawatts-electric (GWe) of clean energy by 2050. Despite that vast potential, there are only 3.7 GWe of geothermal energy currently installed in the United States. GTO is using its research and development portfolio to advance technologies and projects that can rapidly increase that number, while supporting thousands of good-paying jobs for American workers—including those in the oil and gas industries that already have matching skills and expertise.

GTO is looking for applications that address the funding opportunity review criteria in full.

More information about the funding opportunity here.

Geothermal startups get another boost from Chevron as the oil giant backs a geothermal project developer

Read the full story at Tech Crunch.

The U.S.-based oil major Chevron is doubling down on its investment in geothermal power by investing in a Swedish developer of low-temperature geothermal and heat power projects called Baseload Capital.

DOE Awards $46 Million for Geothermal Initiative Projects with Potential to Power Millions of U.S. Homes

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that its Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) Initiative at the University of Utah has selected 17 projects to receive up to $46 million in funding for cutting-edge, domestic, and carbon-free geothermal projects with potential to supply power to homes in the United States.

“There is enormous untapped potential for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to provide clean and reliable electricity to power tens of millions of homes across the country,” said Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “These investments in EGS research support President Biden’s mission to take on the climate crisis by pushing the frontiers of science and engineering and creating jobs in cutting-edge clean energy fields.”

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are different from conventional geothermal resources that occur naturally in the U.S. and are geographically limited due to the need for underground heat and fluids. EGS are manmade geothermal reservoirs and can be engineered in most parts of the country, potentially expanding geothermal energy production and transforming the domestic energy portfolio.

The FORGE Initiative began with the selection of five projects in 2015, with the Utah FORGE site and team announced in 2018. Utah FORGE is a laboratory where scientists and researchers learn how to engineer these manmade EGS systems, and is the first dedicated field site of its kind. Awardees will gain a fundamental understanding of the key mechanisms controlling EGS success; develop, test and improve new techniques in an ideal EGS environment; and rapidly disseminate technical data and communicate lessons learned and best practices to the public.

“Energy-rich Beaver County continues to be a flagship area for renewable energy production, as it is home to the commercial scale of solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal production,” said Senator Mitt Romney. “This funding will support the continued partnership between the University of Utah and the Department of Energy to expand geothermal energy and make progress toward commercializing new innovative sources of energy for our state and the country.”

“This grant will further the development of renewable, clean energy,” said Senator Bob Casey. “Penn State continues to be at the forefront of research into 21st century challenges. I applaud the students and researchers at Penn State for their work to receive this grant.”

“America leads the world in installed geothermal capacity, but it accounts for just two percent of our renewable energy portfolio. Developing advanced geothermal energy technology requires strong investment in basic and early-stage research, like the awards announced today,” said Congressman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. “Our country has significant hydrothermal and geothermal energy resources, and if harnessed correctly, these resources have the capability to provide secure baseload power and energy storage for Americans across the country, which is why I introduced the Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act and advocated for its inclusion in the Energy Act of 2020. As has been witnessed in the great state of Oklahoma, by investing in early-stage research in enhanced geothermal systems, we can dramatically improve our ability to access and use clean and constant geothermal energy. We know that American industry and our research enterprises have the necessary resources to successfully diversify America’s energy resources, and the FORGE initiative funds announced today ensure we continue our journey further developing clean energy technologies.”

“Enhanced Geothermal Systems are exciting technologies that will enable the expansion and scalability of geothermal energy across the nation,” said Dr. Will Pettitt, Executive Director of Geothermal Rising, the industry’s professional and trade association. “With today’s announcement, the FORGE project will provide research, development, and demonstration of these technologies, breathing welcome support into the industry by the Department of Energy and steering a successful future for a clean and renewable energy source that helps secure the nation’s energy needs, decarbonize our society, and fight climate change. The project also provides countless technology crossover benefits for shovel-ready geothermal projects that will directly create quality jobs and welcome relief for the economy.”

Geothermal energy technologies supported by DOE have enjoyed strong bipartisan congressional support. In 2020, Congress renewed and expanded its commitment to geothermal energy through funding for research, development, and demonstration projects through the Energy Act of 2020.

Utah FORGE, in collaboration with the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office, selected the following projects to move forward into award negotiations:

Topic 1: Devices suitable for sectional (zonal) isolation along both cased and open-hole wellbores under geothermal conditions

  • Welltec / Katy, TX
  • PetroQuip Energy Services, LLC / Waller, TX
  • Colorado School of Mines / Golden, CO

Topic 2: Estimation of stress parameters

  • Battelle Memorial Institute / Columbus, OH
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory / Livermore, CA
  • The University of Oklahoma / Norman, OK

Topic 3: Field-scale characterization of reservoir stimulation and evolution over time, including thermal, hydrological mechanical, and chemical (THMC) effects

  • Clemson University / Clemson, SC
  • Stanford University / Stanford, CA
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / Berkeley, CA
  • Rice University / Houston, TX

Topic 4: Stimulation and configuration of the well(s) at Utah FORGE

  • Fervo Energy / Houston, TX
  • The University of Texas at Austin / Austin, TX

Topic 5: Integrated laboratory and modeling studies of the interactions among THMC processes

  • Pennsylvania State University / State College, PA
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory / Livermore, CA
  • U.S. Geological Survey / Denver, CO
  • The University of Oklahoma / Norman, OK
  • Purdue University / West Lafayette, IN

To learn more, visit the Utah FORGE website.

St. Paul explores powering Como Zoo with geothermal energy

Read the full story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

St. Paul is preparing to replace a decades-old steam boiler system at Como Zoo and Conservatory with geothermal energy as the capital city moves toward a goal of carbon neutrality in municipal buildings within the next decade.

The geothermal system, which will use groundwater to heat and cool buildings, is expected to reduce the zoo’s carbon emissions by at least half. The city is partnering with Xcel Energy and a local geothermal energy company to study which aquifers to use, where to begin retrofitting and how much it will all cost.

In Minnesota, a geothermal innovation revives interest in systems’ potential

Read the full story at Energy News Network.

A startup company is beginning to market geothermal systems that circulate heat from shallow aquifers.

Geothermal Manufacturing Prize

Submission deadline: August 26, 2020.

The American-Made Geothermal Manufacturing Prize (Geothermal Prize) is designed to spur innovation and address manufacturing challenges fundamental to operating in harsh geothermal environments. This prize further supports the ability of the geothermal industry to reach the target of 60 GWe of geothermal capacity by 2050  as outlined in the recently released GeoVision study . 

As part of the American-Made Challenges series, the Geothermal Prize unites the world’s best-in-class research base with the unparalleled entrepreneurial support system of the American-Made Network. Consisting of pioneering maker spaces, dozens of energy incubators, universities, and 17 DOE National Laboratories, the Network is primed to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations to demonstrate the promise of additive manufacturing. 

Prize Stages

Competitors in the Ready!, Set!, Make!, and Geo! Contests participate in four escalating challenges. The contests provide a total of $4.65 million in incentives—$3.25 million in cash prizes, $1 million in vouchers, and $400,000 in field testing costs—to incentivize driving additively manufactured geothermal innovations from concept to prototype testing in two years through an accelerated schedule.

UI installing pioneering geothermal system at new Hydrosystems Lab

Read the full story in the News-Gazette.

In an ongoing effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the University of Illinois is installing a novel geothermal heating and cooling system within the foundation of a building addition going up on its engineering campus.

The Forgotten Renewable: Geothermal Energy Production Heats Up

Read the full story from NPR.

Geothermal energy uses the earth’s natural heat to create electricity. While there are several different ways to accomplish this, the most common is to take super-heated water from geothermal hot spots and pipe it to the surface. It then turns into steam and spins a turbine, which generates electricity.

It’s completely renewable, and generates clean energy around the clock, unlike wind and solar.

Michigan Capitol going green with geothermal

Read the full story in the Detroit News.

The Michigan Capitol is going “green and clean” with a new geothermal heating and cooling system that officials say will be the largest of its kind at a state government building in the country.

Sustainable: Organizations warming to geothermal energy

Read the full story in Minnesota Finance & Commerce.

The Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies last year celebrated the opening of a 66,777-square-foot addition that included a geothermal exchange system for heating and cooling office space.

Cargill Philanthropies is one of a handful of organizations in Minnesota that have installed geothermal systems over the last few years. Although geothermal exchange systems require a significant upfront investment, the equipment generally lasts for decades and the fuel source, the Earth, costs nothing.

%d bloggers like this: