ARKANSAS, Nov 15 (Future Headlines)- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of 13 research projects at its Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) field laboratory in Milford, UT. The projects will receive a combined total of $44 million in funding to advance research in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). This initiative aligns with the DOE’s goal of reducing the cost of EGS by 90% by 2035, contributing to the Biden-Harris Administration’s aim for a net-zero-carbon economy by 2050.

FORGE, managed by the University of Utah, serves as the DOE’s dedicated field laboratory for the development of technologies related to EGS. EGS involves creating, sustaining, and monitoring reservoirs to harness geothermal energy for power generation. The laboratory conducts testing and research and development (R&D) to reduce uncertainties and manage risks associated with the commercial development of EGS technologies.

The selected research projects at FORGE will collectively receive $44 million in funding to advance EGS technology development. The projects focus on various aspects of EGS, including adaptive induced seismicity monitoring protocols, alternative stimulation schemes, field-scale experiments to measure heat-sweep efficiency, high-temperature proppants, and multiset straddle packers for open-hole operations.

Topic 1: Adaptive Induced Seismicity Monitoring Protocols

Participants: Global Technology Connection, Inc. (Atlanta, GA), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA), University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT).

Topic 2: Alternative Stimulation Schemes

Participants: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO), University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK).

Topic 3: Field Scale Experiments to Measure Heat-Sweep Efficiency

Participants: California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach, CA), Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, NM), Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX).

Topic 4: High Temperature Proppants

Participants: Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK), Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ), University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK).

Topic 5: Multiset Straddle Packers for Open Hole Operations

Participants: PetroQuip (Waller, TX), Welltec (Katy, TX).

FORGE collects comprehensive data related to EGS development, covering subsurface fluid flow, temperatures, rock types, and more. The data collected aids researchers in better understanding subsurface conditions, identifying optimal areas for geothermal production, and optimizing tools and methods suitable for geothermal environments.

EGS is positioned as the next frontier in meeting energy needs, offering a clean and sustainable energy source. The DOE’s investment in FORGE aims to advance cutting-edge technologies related to drilling and creating geothermal wells. Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, emphasizes the importance of leveraging cost-effective and widespread geothermal power in the nation’s clean energy future.

FORGE, based in Utah, anticipates close collaboration with the selected project teams to advance toward the commercialization of geothermal energy. The laboratory aims to expand the geothermal community and elevate EGS into the national energy spotlight.

The selection of these research projects at FORGE signifies a crucial step in advancing EGS technology and contributing to the broader goals of clean and sustainable energy in the United States. The diverse range of topics covered by the projects reflects the multifaceted approach to addressing challenges and optimizing geothermal energy production. The funding provided by the DOE underscores the strategic importance of EGS in the transition to a low-carbon and resilient energy future.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White