OU researchers get part of $28 million Energy Dept. geothermal grants


The University of Oklahoma is one of five facilities getting nearly $28 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to study what the department calls the next generation of geothermal energy technologies.

Selected by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office these projects align with the goals of the 2019 GeoVision study, which outlines a path to unlock the full potential of geothermal power as a clean, reliable, and affordable energy source for American homes and businesses.

Three projects totaling up to $10.4 million will include OU and will involve what the department calls the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy or FORGE initiative.

The FORGE initiative aims to enable cutting-edge research, drilling, and technology testing to identify a replicable, commercial pathway to enhanced geothermal systems.

OU will lead a diverse team to stimulate multiple zones of interest in a well at the Coso Geothermal Field in Inyo County, California. The DOE announcement said Oklahoma researchers will use “innovative packers to achieve zonal isolation to improve production.”

Two other projects falling under the nearly $11 million part of the grants are Cyrq Energy, Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah and Ormat Nevada, Inc. in Reno, Nevada. Cyrq Energy will carry out stimulation experiments on a well in Churchill County, Nevada. Ormat will do the same on three wells in three separate operating geothermal fields in Nevada.

“Geothermal energy is an important part of the Trump Administration’s diverse, all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “These projects will help bring the massive promise of clean and reliable, geothermal energy, for both power production and direct use, closer to reality for all Americans.”


Two projects totaling up to $17.5 million were selected under the FY 2020 Geothermal Technologies Office Hydrothermal and Low Temperature Multi-Topic Funding Opportunity for the R&D of innovative subsurface geothermal technologies. The project selected under the first topic area will help drive down costs and risks associated with the discovery of hidden geothermal systems. The project selected under the second topic area will enhance energy system resilience through geothermal district heating and cooling applications, in support of the DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge. The projects selected are:

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

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