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Eden’s Electrical Reservoir Stimulation technology selected for $3.5M ARPA-E MINER award

Eden, a company developing novel techniques to increase permeability and characterize geologic reservoirs, has been selected as part of a project team to receive $3,517,450 in federal funding from the US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for a project titled “Integrated Electro-Hydraulic Fracturing and Real-Time Monitoring for Carbon Negative In-Situ Mining”.

Eden’s approach to stimulation utilizes high-voltage electricity as the main mechanism to increase reservoir permeability. Eden’s novel electrical reservoir stimulation technology increases directional permeability in subsurface geologic reservoirs. This is especially important for decarbonizing the mining industry and increasing power output from geothermal wells.


Source: Eden

The funding is part of the ARPA-E MINER program (earlier post), which prioritizes funding technologies that support novel approaches to increases the mineral yield while decreasing the required energy, and subsequent emissions, to mine and extract these energy-relevant minerals.

This project is being led by Idaho National Labs, who has been working closely with Eden to develop the technology for hard rock permeability enhancement applications. Colorado School of Mines is also a sub-awardee on the project, and will be leading a novel effort to utilize Distributed Fiber-Optic Sensing (DFOS) to monitor fracture processes and chemical reactions in the subsurface during operations of Electrical Reservoir Stimulation.

While we started developing our electric rock stimulation technology to increase heat transfer fracture volume to maximize power production in geothermal reservoirs, we soon realized the implications of our method goes way beyond geothermal.

Sustainable and controlled subsurface permeability enhancement can greatly reduce the environmental impact of mining lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, and other energy relevant minerals by pre-weakening the rock before mining operations. This allows for reduced water consumption, energy comminution, and mining tailings. In the very near future, we will also adopt our technology for other hard rock applications, including increasing the permeability of tight mafic/ultramafic reservoirs for geologic hydrogen production and CO2 sequestration, and decreasing the number of newly drilled wells and water required for re-fracturing unconventional reservoirs.

—Paris Smalls, CEO and co-founder of Eden

The project team consists of researchers at Idaho National Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines, and Stony Brook University, and Eden. These institutions will work together to study the processes of electric rock stimulation, CO2 injection during mining operations, and DFOS monitoring into the mining workflow.

Combining our novel rock permeability enhancement technology with DFOS will allow us to both increase and measure permeability evolution more accurately in CO2 reactive ore bodies. This will allow our mining partners to unlock new sources of energy relevant minerals, while drastically decreasing their environmental footprint.

—Dr. Rafael Villamor-Lora, lead experimental scientist at Eden and Co-PI on the project

In October, ARPA-E announced $39 million in funding for 16 projects as part of the MINER program. (Earlier post.)


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