The Drill Down: Giving Thanks for Geothermal Energy

Director’s Note: Hello and Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, we are grateful for our favorite inexhaustible energy resource, geothermal! Thanks to the amazing geothermal community, we are continuing to develop and deploy geothermal technologies at a rapid rate. With the launch of a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Earthshot—the Enhanced Geothermal Shot, which seeks to make enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) a widespread renewable energy option—I am eager to see what 2023 holds for the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) and the geothermal community.

And even with all we have accomplished across 2022, we are not done yet! Yesterday, GTO and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a new geothermal-focused internship opportunity. This NSF-DOE collaboration is part of NSF’s INTERN program and will support internships in the geothermal industry. Learn more about the program in our announcements section below.

Lastly, our GTO communications team will be attending the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in Chicago from Dec. 12-16. If you’re going, visit booth #1750 to learn more about our office and claim one of our awesome giveaways, and if you can't attend, check out our AGU wrap-up email when we return.

I hope you all enjoy a healthy and safe Thanksgiving! Always remember that GTO is grateful for our geothermal fans, followers, and partners.

—GTO Acting Office Director Lauren Boyd

Trivia: How many geothermal installations are there in Philadelphia?

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Announcements

GTO and NSF Announce New Internship Program to Support Growth of Geothermal Energy Workforce

To help advance the geothermal energy industry, GTO and NSF have teamed up to create a new internship opportunity. This collaboration is part of NSF’s INTERN program and will support 10 to 20 six-month research internships per year to work in the geothermal industry on projects that advance geothermal technologies. This is the first activity coordinated through the March 2022 NSF-DOE Memorandum of Understanding, which formalizes the agencies’ longstanding partnership on scientific and engineering research to bolster national energy policy, and also supports DOE’s recently announced Enhanced Geothermal Shot, part of the Energy Earthshots Initiative.

For details, read NSF’s Dear Colleague Letter about this opportunity. And please forward this email to anyone who may be interested in applying! 

Geothermal Collegiate Competition Winners Host Community Event 

On September 2, the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) Sooners Geothermal Team—champions of the Geothermal Technologies Office’s 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition (GCC)—hosted an event with local stakeholders to educate their local community about geothermal energy and share their winning plans. The team has designed a system that repurposes six abandoned oil and gas wells in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to provide clean, renewable geothermal energy for educational and municipal buildings, including sites within the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and Potawatomi Nation jurisdiction. At their community event, the champions also shared what they learned over the course of the competition and how expanding geothermal energy can help build a clean energy future.  

Learn more about the GCC, read about this event, and keep an eye out for details on more stakeholder engagement activities by GCC winners.  

DOE Announces $35 Million to Deploy Clean Energy on Tribal Lands and Power Unelectrified Tribal Buildings 

As the nation kicked off its month-long celebration of Native American heritage, DOE’s Office of Indian Energy announced $35 million in funding for Tribal energy and economic development. The two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) seek to unlock the benefits of clean energy for Native communities: 

  1. Deploy clean energy technology on Tribal lands (DE-FOA-0002774); applications due February 9, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.  
  2. Power unelectrified Tribal buildings (DE-FOA-0002771); applications due February 23, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET

The Office of Indian Energy will host webinars to provide potential applicants with details: 

Help Shape the Future of Heat Pumps 

DOE recently announced a joint Notice of Intent (NOI) and Request for Information (RFI) to determine how DOE can best leverage the Defense Production Act (DPA) authority invoked by President Biden to accelerate domestic electric heat pump manufacturing. 

Feedback on the Defense Production Act to Support Electric Heat Pumps Manufacturing and Deployment NOI/RFI will help DOE assess funding approaches for $250 million in heat pump investments, as well as ways to address energy equity and provide support for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies. Responses must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. ET on December 2, 2022.

DOE Announces $12 Million to Help Expand Domestic Sources of Lithium

On November 9, DOE issued a $12 million FOA to support the extraction and conversion of lithium from geothermal brines to use in batteries for stationary storage and electric vehicles. This investment will support projects that strengthen and diversify the lithium supply chain—an important step on the path to achieving the Biden Administration’s goals of a net-zero clean energy economy by 2050 and 50% electric vehicle adoption by 2030.

The funding opportunity will focus on two topic areas: (1) Field Validation of Lithium Hydroxide Production from Geothermal Brines, and (2) Applied Research & Development for Direct Lithium Extraction from Geothermal Brines. This funding opportunity is supported through EERE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office and GTO.

Upcoming Events

American Geophysical Union Fall Conference

GTO is bringing the heat to the windy city! GTO staff are attending the American Geophysical Union conference from December 12–16 in Chicago, Illinois. Visit booth #1750 to meet the team, learn about GTO initiatives, and grab some giveaways. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Water Power Technologies Office will also be there, hosting a booth directly across from GTO. Follow #AGU2022 to stay on top of the latest news on all things AGU.  

International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Conference

GTO will be sponsoring the annual IGSHPA conference, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada from December 6-8. GTO’s Low-Temperature Technology Manager, Arlene Anderson, will be speaking about the Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment FOA and other initiatives. GTO’s Program Manager for Hydrothermal Resources and Low Temperature and Co-Produced Resources, Alexis McKittrick, will also be in attendance. Keep an eye out for more information! 

Join an Informational Webinar on the EnergyTech University Prize  

GTO is participating in the American-Made EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) from DOE's Office of Technology Transitions. This collegiate competition challenges students to identify a promising energy technology, assess its market potential, and create a business plan for commercialization. GTO will be awarding a $25,000 bonus prize to a team that develops the most innovative plan focused on innovation and inclusiveness.

Anyone interested in competing is encouraged to register for an informational webinar on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. ET to hear prize administrators share information about how to compete, provide ideas about energy technologies teams can use to develop their plans, and answer questions from potential participants.

In Case You Missed It

DOE Seeks Public Comment on New $1 Billion Program for Rural or Remote Communities

DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations has issued an RFI on a $1 billion program to improve energy generation in rural or remote U.S. communities. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program will strengthen the resilience, reliability, and availability of energy systems, helping communities unlock the public health and cost-saving benefits that cleaner, more efficient energy can provide. RFI feedback can be submitted to ERA@hq.doe.gov until 12 p.m. ET on November 28. 

GTO Releases the 2022 GTO Peer Review Report 

In May, GTO hosted its 2022 Peer Review, an in-depth review of GTO-funded research projects. Detailed in the resulting 2022 Peer Review Report, the assessments and recommendations from independent experts will guide GTO managers, staff, and project performers, as well as the broader research community—while providing a public archive and record of progress for GTO-funded projects. 

Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship Placements 

DOE announced 19 institutions that will host fellows as part of the $6 million Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship program. Sponsored by eight EERE offices, including GTO, the program matches recent graduates and energy professionals with public utility commissions, municipal and rural cooperative utilities, and grid operators to spend 1-2 years advancing innovative clean energy solutions. The goal is to increase access to clean energy career opportunities and accelerate the national transition to a resilient and affordable clean energy economy.

Geothermal Energy Around the Web

New Idea for New Town, ND: Geothermal energy. The winners of the 2021 GCC recently hosted a community event in New Town, North Dakota, about geothermal district energy generation. In 2021, the student team researched the use of existing gas wells to generate geothermal energy for heat, food, and jobs in Mandaree, North Dakota.

This UFO-Like Structure Could Help Europe Transform its Energy. Central Europe has the potential to drill down and benefit immensely from geothermal energy. Countries can start by using detailed underground maps left over from decades of fossil fuel exploration to help geothermal investors find good prospects.

Glasgow BODYHEAT Project Combines Human Body Heat and Underground Heat Storage. The radical new thermal heating and cooling system at Scotland’s leading multidisciplinary arts and events venue, SWG3, harnesses body heat from visitors and stores the heat in 200-meter-deep boreholes for heating and cooling purposes.

Enough Room for All in the Geothermal Sandbox. The geothermal industry has bloomed with enough opportunities to mesh the electricity-producing, hot-rock sector with the top-side direct use and low-temperature-exchange sectors.

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Answer: There are over 40 geothermal installations in Philly. Read about Geodelphia. 

Did we miss your event or an interesting media piece? Please reach out to us at DOE.Geothermal@ee.doe.gov!