US DOE to fund $18m for geothermal energy advancement

6 August 2014 (Last Updated August 6th, 2014 18:30)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will fund up to $18m for 32 projects to lower the cost and risk of geothermal development in the US.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will fund up to $18m for 32 projects to lower the cost and risk of geothermal development in the US.

The funding will be split into three kinds of projects, which include $10m for advancing subsurface analysis and engineering techniques for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) and $4m to discover new geothermal resources using a play fairway analysis mapping approach.

Around $4m will also be provided to accelerate extraction technologies to expose domestic supplies of high-value materials from low-to moderate-temperature geothermal resources.

The US DOE Geothermal Technologies Office director Doug Hollett said: "Investments in leading-edge geothermal technologies are diversifying our nation's energy portfolio today and could help power our low-carbon future tomorrow.

"Investments in leading-edge geothermal technologies are diversifying our nation's energy portfolio today and could help power our low-carbon future tomorrow."

"The projects announced today aim to spur the development of cost-competitive geothermal energy and help provide US manufacturers with the critical materials they need to build clean energy technologies right here in the United States."

In order to increase the precision and accuracy of measuring critical underground reservoir properties over time, 12 collaborative EGS research and development projects will use novel techniques including isotope studies, innovative rock mechanics experiments, and tracer studies integrated with geophysical methods, as part of the EGS R&D.

Eleven projects will implement play fairway analysis to pinpoint geothermal resources in areas with no obvious surface expression by detecting and plotting underground heat, permeability, and fluid to discover where all three are most likely to be present together.

Under the low-temperature geothermal mineral recovery programme, nine projects will conduct feasibility studies to better understand extraction technologies and process economics, assess the current critical materials resource base, and research and develop innovative extraction methods.

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