DOE to Invest Up To US $84 Million in Enhanced Geothermal Systems

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) last week for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), an advanced geothermal technology that drills deep wells into hot rocks, fractures them, and circulates a fluid through the fractures to extract heat.

EGS technologies can be used to create new “engineered” geothermal reservoirs or to stimulate existing geothermal reservoirs that are underperforming. Together, the two FOAs offer up to US $84 million over six years, including $20 million in fiscal year 2009 funding, although future funding is subject to congressional appropriations.

The first FOA offers $35 million for component research, development, and analysis. The funding will support 20 to 30 projects to develop advanced technologies that will address important aspects of creating, managing, and using engineered geothermal reservoirs. The second FOA offers $49 million to support 5-10 domestic EGS demonstration projects.

DOE seeks projects in a variety of geologic formations that will quantitatively demonstrate and validate reservoir creation techniques that sustain sufficient fluid flow and heat extraction rates for 5-7 years and produce at least 5 megawatts of electricity. Visit the DOE Geothermal Technologies Program for more information.

Kevin Eber is a senior science writer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In that capacity, he has promoted energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for nearly 20 years. 

This article was first published in the U.S. Department of Energy’s EERE Network News and was reprinted with permission.

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