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US DOE to award up to $38M to 32 projects to advance technology and reduce cost of geothermal energy

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $38 million over three years for projects to accelerate the development of promising geothermal energy technologies. Thirty-two projects in 14 states will develop and test new ways to locate geothermal resources and improve resource characterization, drilling, and reservoir engineering techniques.

The investment is part of DOE’s effort to reduce the cost of geothermal energy, making it more competitive with conventional sources of baseload electricity. Projects will perform feasibility studies before advancing to prototyping and validation, which will be conducted through laboratory-based research and field testing. The selected projects will support the Department’s goals of lowering the cost and financial risk associated with confirming and characterizing geothermal resources and will help to overcome key technical challenges to the reservoir creation and sustainability of enhanced geothermal systems.

Selected awardees are as follows:

Geothermal awards
AwardeeProject description Funding
Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell, LLC This project will evaluate the chemical, thermal and permeability characteristics of a geothermal reservoir using chemical signatures that are trapped inside minerals to increase exploration drilling success rates. up to $330,000
Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory This project will predict changes in fluid flow through fractures and improve current methods of estimating geothermal reservoir temperatures to enable subsurface imaging and reduce exploration costs. up to $540,000
Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC This project will reduce resource exploration costs by developing a processing technique for a variety of geophysical and geological parameters. up to $890,000
Paulsson, Inc. This project will advance the collection of seismic data from stimulation zones to accurately characterize enhanced geothermal system reservoirs. up to $3.0 million
Potter Drilling, Inc. This project will adapt hydrothermal spallation drilling technology to increase the effective diameter of wells and increase their production capacity. up to $1.5 million
Stanford University This project will develop geophysical approaches to detect and evaluate fractures to better characterize geothermal reservoirs and optimize their performance. up to $680,000
Colorado School of Mines This project will link reservoir temperature estimates with mineral analysis to aid discovery of unknown geothermal resources. up to $1.1 million
Colorado School of Mines This project will develop an advanced processing framework for survey data to reduce the cost of geothermal exploration. up to $630,000
University of Hawaii This project will develop a new geophysical inversion and analysis procedure to map the subsurface structure of a geothermal prospect and lower exploration costs. up to $980,000
Idaho National Laboratory This project will seek to achieve increased accuracy in predicting reservoir temperatures in order to lower exploration costs. up to $1.0 million
FastCAP Systems Corporation This project will enable controlled pressure and directional drilling in high-temperature geothermal exploration wells to facilitate more economical identification of geothermal resources. up to $2.2 million
Applied Technology Associates This project will use an innovative sensor to facilitate simultaneous measurement of multiple wave velocities and directions to improve reservoir observation and monitoring. up to $1.5 million
Los Alamos National Laboratory This project will allow for more accurate imaging of seismic data through the development of an advanced processing technique. up to $1.0 million
Los Alamos National Laboratory This project will reduce the cost of geothermal energy by developing an innovative method that combines high pressure impulses and thermal gradients to drill through hard rock. up to $1.6 million
Sandia National Laboratories This project will develop an environmentally-friendly material that will temporarily isolate sections of the wellbore to control zones of injection and production at high temperatures and pressures, lowering completion costs. up to $400,000
Sandia National Laboratories This project will assess the feasibility of using state-of-the-art sensors and components to accurately determine the direction and orientation of a geothermal well in real-time in order to lower drilling costs. up to $340,000
University of Nevada This project will use an advanced method to identify faults and characterize reservoirs resulting in lower exploration costs. up to $380,000
Brookhaven National Laboratory This project will develop a multi-functional cement to protect geothermal wellbores against common geothermal failure risks such as thermal cycling, thermal expansion, and corrosion. up to $300,000
Brookhaven National Laboratory This project will optimize a temporary sealer compound to address fluid loss encountered while drilling. up to $300,000
Clean Tech Innovations, LLC This project will modify a gel that can tolerate the high temperatures and high pressures encountered in geothermal wells to provide isolation of lost circulation zones and reduce drilling costs. up to $500,000
Impact Technologies This project will examine the feasibility of employing intense radiation technology to drill and seal off the walls of geothermal wells in order to reduce drilling costs. up to $1.0 million
National Energy Technology Laboratory This project will enable efficient reservoir creation by monitoring enhanced geothermal system reservoirs before and after stimulation using recently developed advanced geophysical techniques combined with geologic and geochemical analyses. up to $770,000
Atlas Copco Secoroc LLC This project will enable drilling at the high temperatures encountered in deep geothermal wells. up to $3.4 million
National Energy Technology Laboratory This project will reduce the cost of reservoir development using an integrated experimental and modeling program to anticipate geochemical reactions in enhanced geothermal system processes. up to $1.0 million
Temple University This project will employ new techniques to better interpret the shape, volume and evolution of a stimulated reservoir and optimize its performance. up to $1.5 million
Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations, Inc. This project will develop downhole systems for continuous real-time data logging of high temperature wells to allow for more efficient drilling and reduced well costs. up to $5.0 million
Bell Geospace, Inc. This project will test two airborne geophysical survey technologies with the potential to lower geothermal exploration costs. up to $1.0 million
Geothermal Expandables, LLC This project will improve upon existing casing designs by increasing the effective diameter of production wells allowing for additional fluid flow and power production. up to $1.5 million
University of Texas This project will develop seismic data processing technologies to locate fractures in a more cost effective manner and lower exploration costs. up to $990,000
University of Texas This project will develop and test an innovative integrated exploration method to increase exploration drilling success rates. up to $700,000
University of Utah This project will combine several geophysical techniques into an integrative method for identifying blind, high temperature geothermal resources, thereby lowering exploration costs. up to $990,000
University of Utah This project will improve the prediction of permeability and temperature at depth and lower exploration costs. up to $1.0 million

Comments

HarveyD

Potentially interesting for clean energy production. However, it may be more a make work program with avoidable duplication?

HarveyD

Kobe Steel of Japan recently produced a more efficient waste heat/electricity converter. It can reduce geothermal electricity production cost from 17 cent/kwh to 13 cents/kwh.

Alain

No plan to extract valuable minerals from the circulating water ?

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