Energy Department Explores Deep Direct-Use

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Cascaded uses of geothermal energy include district heating and industrial uses as well as agricultural applications like greenhouses and fisheries. 

Deep Direct-Use (DDU) geothermal applications utilize natural geothermal fluid for a full spectrum of cascading uses, including district heating and cooling, commercial and residential applications, industrial processes, and agricultural uses. As the demand for net-zero energy campuses, military installations, and offices increases, DDU offers great opportunities to significantly expand the impact and reach of geothermal energy to a much wider swath of the country. These lower temperature geothermal applications are inviting for near-term deployment and could provide a large fraction of the energy demand currently supplied by high-grade fossil fuels.


This emerging technology draws on lower temperature geothermal resources for large-scale residential, commercial, and manufacturing heating and cooling.  DDU has the potential to deliver direct geothermal from deep, lower temperature resources nationwide, thus expanding direct geothermal to new domestic markets. Current DDU research extends to subsurface thermal energy storage, which has tremendous potential as both a primary and contingency energy source for districts underlain by saline or other suitable subsurface aquifers. Read White Paper



Photo credits: Geothermal Education Office, Ball State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Geothermal Resources Council.