Utah Institute gets US$140 million government grant for geothermal energy lab

The US Department of Energy has selected the Energy and Geosciences Institute at the University of Utah to develop a geothermal laboratory near Milford, Utah. The laboratory, called Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) will focus on developing enhanced geothermal systems which could greatly expand the nation’s capacity to produce geothermal energy. The FORGE award will consist of up to $140 million over five years.
Utah Institute gets US$140 million government grant for geothermal energy lab Utah Institute gets US$140 million government grant for geothermal energy lab Utah Institute gets US$140 million government grant for geothermal energy lab Utah Institute gets US$140 million government grant for geothermal energy lab Utah Institute gets US$140 million government grant for geothermal energy lab

Subsurface characteristics of the FORGE site near Milford, Utah

Duncan Moore

Editor

Duncan Moore

The FORGE project involves drilling two 8,000ft long wells in an area north of Milford, Beaver County, Utah. Cold water will be pumped into one well and heated by the rocks as it circulates, then will be pumped out of a second well. After the heat is extracted at the surface, the cooled, circulated water will be cycled back into the first well. The laboratory will use non-potable groundwater that cannot be used for agriculture or human consumption.

Currently, geothermal power plants need two things: hot rocks at depth, which can be found practically anywhere on the planet, and hot groundwater that can be extracted at the surface. Enhanced geothermal systems like FORGE could create their own hot groundwater, making it possible to place a geothermal power plant nearly anywhere.

"Utah is proud to provide national leadership in advancing energy innovation that will help drive affordable, baseload, renewable power to market," said Governor Gary R. Herbert, in a statement from the Governor's Office of Energy Development. "This will put Utah on the map as a world leader for geothermal research as well as expand geothermal production here in rural Utah and throughout the world."

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