U.S. DOE seeks to invest up to $90 million in geothermal

The U.S. Dept. of Energy issued a funding opportunity announcement in June for up to $90 million over four years to advance the research, development, and demonstration of next-generation geothermal energy technology.

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff July 7, 2008

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)inder subject to change and to congressional appropriations. The FOA addresses the need for additional technical understanding of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to accelerate the technology to a state of commercial readiness.

“Geothermal energy is a clean, reliable, scalable, renewable energy source, and these geothermal projects will help the U.S. tap domestic heat sources that were previously out of reach,” Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner said. “Increasing the use of traditional hydrothermal and geothermal base load resources is an important component of the administration’s
EGS are systems of engineered reservoirs created by drilling deep wells into hot rock, fracturing the rock, and circulating a fluid through the wells to extract heat. According to a recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Future of Geothermal Energy ,

While EGS reservoirs have been designed, built, and tested in various locations throughout the world, a number of technical hurdles remain before EGS production facilities will reach commercial production rates and life spans. Through this FOA, DOE will concentrate on issues related to EGS reservoir creation, operation, and management. In the long-term, the work aims to create, sustain, replicate, and commercialize EGS technologies, while in the short-term these projects will develop and demonstrate technologies that are useful to both hydrothermal and EGS geothermal projects.
To reach these goals, this FOA will address two topic areas:
Component Technologies R&D: The R&D projects under this topic area will meet the R&D needs identified in DOE’s EGS Technology Evaluation Report (2008).

System Demonstrations: The projects under this topic area will allow testing and validation of
DOE anticipates making up to 26 awards through this competitive funding opportunity, which is open to industry and academia.d congressional appropriations. A minimum of 20% private sector cost share is required for R&D projects and funding for the awards is subject to congressional appropriations. Recipient cost share requirements for demonstration projects will be up to 50% and vary by both the phase of the award and the activities within a particular phase. Applications for this funding opportunity are due on or before August 12, 2008. 
For more information about Geothermal Technologies Program website.