DOE Announces $31 Million for Enhanced Geothermal Systems Field Observatory
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $31 million to establish the initial phases of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), a field laboratory dedicated to research on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS).
EGS are engineered reservoirs created beneath the Earthâ€™s surface where there is hot rock but limited pathways through which fluid can flow. During EGS development, underground fluid pathways are created and their size and connectivity increased. These enhanced pathways allow fluid to circulate throughout the hot rock and carry heat to the surface to generate electricity.
In the long term, EGS may enable domestic access to a geographically diverse baseload, and carbon-free energy resource on the order of 100 GW. The FORGE initiative could drive down the cost of geothermal energy, says theÂ DOE.
Research and development at FORGE will focus on techniques to effectively stimulate large fracture networks in various rock types, technologies for imaging and monitoring the evolution of fluid pathways and long-term reservoir sustainability and management techniques.
The initiative comprises three phases.Â The first two phases focus on selecting a site and an operations team, and preparing and fully characterizing the site. In Phase 1, $2 million will be available over one year for selected teams to perform analysis on the suitability of their proposed site and to develop plans for Phase 2.
Up to $29 million in funding is planned for Phase 2, during which teams will work to fully instrument, characterize and permit candidate sites.
Phase 3 will fund full implementation of FORGE at a single site, managed by a single operations team.Â This phase will be guided by a collaborative research strategy and executed via annual R&D solicitations designed to improve, optimize and drive down the costs of deploying EGS.Â In this phase, partners from industry, academia and the national laboratories will have ongoing opportunities to conduct research on areas such as reservoir characterization, reservoir creation and reservoir sustainability.
Photo via Shutterstock
- 2015 Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards
- Verdantix Green Quadrant for EHS Software
- 2013-2014 Winter Polar Vortex
- Improve Your Company's Environment and Energy Performance
- Unlocking the Value of Energy & Operational Data
- Combined Heat and Power
- NAEM 2015 EHS and Sustainability Software Buyers Guide
- Gartner Magic Quadrant
- Best Practices in Electricity Procurement
- Increase the Value of Demand Response Through Automation
- Connected Buildings, Connected People: A Look to the Future
- Cut Costs and Improve Facility Operations with Energy Data
- Energy Procurement Strategies for Winter 2014 and 2015
- Energy Efficiency Requires Engineering Efficiency
- Integrated Building Optimization: A Crucial Convergence of Demand-side and Supply-Side Energy Management Strategies