US DOE Puts Up $14.5 Million for Innovative Geothermal Drilling Tech

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week said it is making up to $14.5 million in new funding available to advance geothermal energy development. The Efficient Drilling for Geothermal Energy (EDGE) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) focuses on geothermal drilling in support of accelerating the research and development of innovative geothermal energy technologies in the U.S.

“Advancing research in geothermal drilling technologies will help harness the heat beneath our feet to expand our domestic energy resources,” Daniel Simmons, principal deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said in a statement. “Geothermal is a reliable, baseload renewable energy source with firm and flexible operation, allowing it to provide a range of essential services that contribute to our nation’s grid stability and resiliency.”

According to the DOE, the U.S. currently has an installed geothermal capacity of about 3.8 GW, and there is an estimated 100 GW of additional potential geothermal development accessible in undiscovered hydrothermal and enhanced geothermal systems. The DOE said that technological innovation is necessary to economically convert these resources into cost-effective energy services.

The EDGE FOA covers three topic areas:

  • Early-stage R&D projects to reduce common delays in drilling operations like lost circulation, stuck pipe, unstable wellbores, and other issues that take time away from deepening the hole, typically referred to as non-drilling time.
  • Early-stage R&D projects in innovative drilling technologies that improve the rates of penetration for drilling geothermal wells.
  • Exploration of innovative approaches and models to accelerate the transfer of geothermal drilling and related technologies from the laboratory into the real world by focusing on building partnerships that will increase adoption of nascent technology and improving knowledge transfer in the geothermal industry.

Concept papers are due on May 31.

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