The Energy Department is advancing enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) in the US by offering a $10 million funding opportunity for research and development. DOE also intends to issue a funding opportunity for an EGS field lab called the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE).
EGS projects produce energy from intensely hot rocks buried thousands of feet below the surface. EGS systems initially lack the permeability or fluid saturation found in naturally occurring geothermal systems. But, EGS technologies utilize directional drilling and pressurized water to enhance flow paths in the subsurface rock and create new reservoirs, capturing energy from resources that were once considered uneconomical or unrecoverable.
The R&D funding opportunity will support up to 10, three-year, collaborative research and development projects focused on obtaining high-precision data to better characterize and target potential EGS sites.
The FORGE will promote science and engineering focused on addressing critical barriers to EGS. FORGE will enable testing of new technologies and techniques, with a central focus on EGS optimization and validation. In addition, the new initiative will include an instrumentation, data collection and data dissemination effort to capture and share in real-time a higher-fidelity picture of EGS creation and evolution processes.