This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
DOE Offers $90 Million for Enhanced Geothermal Systems
DOE issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on June 18 for the research, development, and demonstration of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), an advanced geothermal technology that drills deep wells into hot rocks, fractures them, and circulates a fluid through the fractures to extract heat. EGS technologies can be used to create new geothermal reservoirs or to stimulate existing geothermal reservoirs that are underperforming. The FOA offers up to $90 million over four years, of which $40 million will go toward research and development (R&D) projects for the technologies needed to commercialize EGS and $50 million will go toward demonstration projects that stimulate existing unproductive geothermal reservoirs.
The R&D projects will target the technologies needed to create reservoirs at temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit) and depths as great as 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). They will address specific needs identified in a recent DOE report, "An Evaluation of Enhanced Geothermal Systems Technology." According to a recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a reasonable R&D investment in these technologies could create the opportunity to develop 100,000 megawatts of geothermal power in the United States by 2050, an amount equal to 20% of the current U.S. generating capacity. See the reports from DOE and MIT in the EGS technology section of DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program Web site.
Of the $90 million in funds, $10.5 million are ready for immediate award, while the remainder is subject to congressional appropriations, with an estimated $30 million expected to be available for 2009. Under the FOA, R&D projects must carry a minimum 20% cost share and demonstrations will require up to a 50% cost share, depending on the phase of the award. The FOA is open to industry and academia, and DOE anticipates selecting up to 26 awardees, including 5-20 R&D projects and 2-6 demonstration projects. Applications are due by August 12. See the DOE press release and the FOA on Grants.gov.