New Projects to Advance Efficient Drilling for Geothermal Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (Washington, DC, USA) recently announced the selection of seven projects totaling nearly $11.4 million to advance geothermal energy development. The projects will focus on accelerating the research and development (R&D) of innovative geothermal energy technologies in America.

“Geothermal energy is a clean and efficient base-load energy resource, making it an important part of our nation’s diverse energy portfolio,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Developing new, efficient drilling technologies will reduce these costs and increase the availability of this domestic renewable energy resource.”

Currently, American geothermal electricity production is located solely in the western states, where conventional geothermal resources put about 3.8 GW of electricity on the grid. Geothermal energy has the potential to expand through hydrothermal and enhanced geothermal systems, which could tap into an estimated 100 GW of currently inaccessible resources and remove the geographic barriers of conventional geothermal resources.

Technological innovation is necessary to economically convert these resources into cost-effective energy resources. The awardees will focus on early-stage R&D projects exploring innovative technologies for drilling geothermal wells that show the ability to reduce non-drilling time, improve penetration rates, and identify methods to accelerate the transfer of geothermal drilling and related technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace.

The DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office supports early-stage R&D to achieve necessary technological breakthroughs.

Source: U.S. DOE Geothermal Technologies Office, www.energy.gov/eere/geothermal.