The U.S. DOE’s (Department of Energy) FORGE (Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy) field laboratory has recently announced grants of up to $44 million for projects to test and develop technology that promotes innovation in ESG (enhanced geothermal systems).
Geothermal energy holds the potential to offer electricity and direct cooling and heating to tens of millions of homes across the nation.
While a small portion of the vast geothermal resource in the United States can be extracted via naturally occurring hot water or steam, most of it cannot be accessed without developing man-made EGS reservoirs.
At present sustainable and substantial investment is crucial in technology development for EGS commercialization, which can result in increased geothermal energy deployment and support the country in attaining its climate targets.
Speaking on the latest move, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, stated that the United States offers untapped and extraordinary potential for clean geothermal power to help meet energy needs with an everlasting resource available across the country.
Granholm further stated that these new investments at FORGE for promoting ESG research would help identify the groundbreaking, cost-effective solutions and aid the company in scaling geothermal deployment, in turn supporting President Biden’s ambitious climate goals.
ESG is a process of developing artificial underground reservoirs for tapping into geothermal energy, which would be inaccessible otherwise. For this, fluid is injected underground into naturally heated rocks that lack the fluid flow to draw geothermal energy to the surface.
For the unversed, FORGE, managed by the University of Utah, is DOE’s committed field laboratory where technologies to create, monitor, and sustain ESG reservoirs are developed. FORGE is involved in the collection of valuable insights pertaining to ESG development, from temperatures to rock types to subsurface fluid flow.
This data enables the researchers to understand the subsurface conditions better, assist in identifying the best areas for geothermal production, and provide the necessary information for optimizing tools and methods that can be deployed in geothermal environments.