DOE Launches Geothermal Research Initiative

A new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) collaboration is looking to generate electricity from a geothermal sources stemming from oilfield operations.


DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Geothermal Technologies Program will merge and leverage research capabilities to demonstrate low temperature geothermal electric power generation systems using co-produced water from oilfield operations at FE’s Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC).

EERE is providing funding for the purchase of a geothermal electricity producing unit from Ormat Technologies Inc. RMOTC will serve as an optimal testing facility for geothermal technologies, while enhancing knowledge sharing between the geothermal and petroleum industries.

The system will turn otherwise discarded water into an energy resource. With an estimated ten barrels of hot water co-produced along with each barrel of oil in the United States, there is significant resource potential for this technology. The electricity produced will be used to power field production equipment.

Operational and performance data for various climate and system configurations will be collected and made available to industry and the public, highlighting the potential of geothermal renewable energy from co-produced water.