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DOE GT to issue funding for geothermal deep direct use feasibility studies

Initial drilling for project on OIT campus (source: Kristina Maupin/OIT)
Alexander Richter 26 Oct 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technology Office has announced a possible funding opportunity for geothermal deep direct use feasibility studies in the United States.

Announced during the opening session at the GRC Annual Meeting this week in Sacramento, California, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Geothermal Deep Direct-Use Feasibility Studies.”

The Geothermal Technologies Office seeks to conduct feasibility studies of large-scale, low-temperature deep-well geothermal systems coupled with advanced direct-use applications and cascaded surface technologies whose applications will extend the reach of geothermal into geologically distinct parts of the country beyond the western U.S. These systems are referred to herein as deep direct-use or DDU.

Direct-use geothermal applications have the potential to provide cost-effective, renewable thermal energy in large portions of the U.S. The concept for DDU is to engineer large-scale, multi-application geothermal direct-use projects that can replace or be installed in lieu of conventional district heating and cooling systems; along with other cascading thermal applications such as water heating, ice making, laundry drying, pool and sauna heating, etc.

If the geothermal resource temperature is sufficient, the system could also be a combined heat and power (CHP) application, with the fluid generating power from a binary unit(s) prior to the direct-use applications. Increasing demand for net-zero energy campuses, military installations, hospital complexes, office buildings hotels, and other large energy end-uses offers great opportunities to significantly expand the impact and reach of geothermal energy applications across the U.S.

This FOA seeks to advance the development of large-scale, deep direct-use applications. Applicants are encouraged to leverage data and maps developed by U.S. DOE Geothermal Play Fairway Analysis project awardees under FOA DE-FOA-0000841, Play Fairway Analysis (PFA). PFA is a technique adapted from oil and gas exploration and was funded by Department of Energy (DOE) GTO to help geothermal energy experts target the best spots for geothermal drilling by reducing uncertainties. Phase I PFA awards spanned the country, from the Aleutian Arc in Alaska to the Appalachian Basin on the East Coast. The resulting regional, basin-scale maps are intended to quantify and reduce uncertainty for geothermal energy exploration. To learn more about the PFA projects see http://energy.gov/eere/geothermal/downloads/playfairway-analysis-poster-session. Data from PFA project Recipients is available from the DOE Geothermal Data Repository at https://gdr.openei.org/.

Source: EERE announcement (pdf)