As a key thrust of the Geothermal Technologies Office beginning in 2015, the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) will fund site characterization and selection of a dedicated field laboratory focused on cutting-edge research in enhanced geothermal systems (EGS).
VISIT THE FORGE WEBSITE HERE
EGS are engineered reservoirs, created beneath the surface, where there is hot rock but limited pathways through which fluid can flow. During EGS development, the injection of fluid into the hot rock enhances the size and connectivity of fluid pathways by re-opening fractures. Once completed, EGS function just as natural geothermal systems do: fluids circulating through the hot rock carry energy to the surface through wells, driving turbines and generating electricity. EGS could provide up to 100+ GWe of economically viable capacity in the United States. This potential could supply green electricity to over 100,000,000 American homes, and represents a domestic energy source that is clean, reliable, flexible and renewable.
The FORGE initiative is comprised of three phases. The first two phases focus on selecting both a site and operations team, and preparing and fully characterizing the FORGE site. In Phase 1, $2 million will be available over one year for teams to perform analysis on the potential of their proposed site and to develop plans for Phase 2. Subject to appropriations, up to $29 million in funding is planned for Phase 2, during which recipients will work to fully instrument, characterize, and permit candidate sites. Phase 3 will fund full implementation of FORGE at a single site guided by a collaborative research strategy and executed via annual research and development solicitations designed to improve, optimize, and drive down the costs of deploying EGS. In this phase, partners from industry, academia, and the national laboratories will have ongoing opportunities to conduct research and development projects at the site enabling testing and evaluation of new and innovative EGS science, technology, tools, and techniques in critical research areas such as reservoir characterization, creation, and sustainability.