Department of Energy Announces $15 Million to Promote Innovative Geothermal Heat Recovery Methods and Technologies

August 20, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Program today announced a $15 million funding opportunity to research and develop innovative methods to extract heat from geothermal resources from the Earth's crust to produce clean, renewable energy. DOE's objective through this funding is to promote the advancement and commercialization of technologies for heat recovery with potentially lower environmental, technical, and financial risks than currently available methods.

This funding opportunity seeks applicants to expand geothermal power generation into geologically diverse environments, such as permeable sedimentary formations, a widespread geologic resource of which a number of reservoirs are located in regions with high electricity prices. Naturally permeable rock formations not only reduce the need to increase permeability artificially, but also minimize the risk of rapid drawdown of the reservoir's heat to allow for sustained heat recovery.

Proposals should actively address potential environmental risk factors associated with geothermal heat recovery such as water consumption and induced seismicity. Cooperation and innovative partnerships among geothermal, mining, carbon sequestration, oil and gas industries, small businesses, national laboratories, and academic institutions are highly encouraged.

Funding will be available on a competitive basis for two phases of work. Phase I will encompass feasibility studies of the applicant's proposed heat recovery method including numerical analysis of the proposed reservoir, economic modeling, and unproven component technology engineering and validation plans. Phase II will be the validation and proof of concept of unproven component technology.

Prospective applicants for this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) are encouraged to begin developing partnerships, formulating ideas, and gathering data for potential applications. An initial, pre-application concept paper is required to be eligible for submission of a full application. Pre-application concept papers will receive feedback from DOE regarding the responsiveness of the concept to the objectives of the FOA. The pre-application concept papers are due October 1, 2010 and eligible full applications will be due November 30, 2010.

The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement can be viewed on the FedConnect Web site.

DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program works to establish geothermal energy as a significant contributor to America's future electricity generation by partnering with industry, academia and the national laboratories to discover new geothermal resources, develop innovative methods for tapping geothermal resources, and demonstrate high-impact technologies.