$10 million DOE grant to college boosts geothermal energy explorationOctober 6, 2020
The funds will be used to assist in the development of a comprehensive “toolkit” for the industry.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the University of Nevada, Reno College of Science program $10 million for geothermal energy exploration.
The college will use the funds to create a guidebook for this renewable energy industry.
This geothermal energy exploration guidebook is meant to include everything from analysis and machine learning to advanced geostatics and other types of analytical techniques. These are meant to be combined into a comprehensive integrated toolkit.
“We propose developing a best practices workflow that combines boots on the ground mapping with the most advanced analytical techniques to find optimal sites for geothermal exploration and resource development,” said Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy director Bridget Ayling, the lead scientist on the project, which will run for four and a half years. The project is called “Innovative Geothermal Exploration through Novel Investigations of Undiscovered Systems.”
Ayling’s scientific team has worked in geothermal energy exploration and other areas for over two decades.
The team is composed of over 30 collaborators from a dozen partner institutions. These include private organizations such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the United States Geological Survey, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the Utah Geological Survey, and Idaho Geological Survey.
The team brings together a spectrum of experts with strong and diverse backgrounds and who have a solid history of successful collaborations with a focus on geothermal resource modeling, discoveries and development. Many of the members of this team have taken part in previous collaborations for major and successful projects in this renewable energy.
The goal of the project’s outcome is to help reduce costs and risks associated with discovering hidden geothermal systems (those without hot springs, steam vents or other surface characteristics) in the western United States. In this way, the industry will be bolstered as it seeks new sources of renewable energy for this part of the country’s electricity grid.
Though this part of the US already uses around 28 systems for over 1,200 megawatts of installed capacity, geothermal energy exploration is expected to reveal substantially greater potential for conventional hydrothermal systems there.