Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improving Geothermal Energy

30.04.2015

University of Utah team chosen for geothermal research

Generating electricity from the hot rocks deep underground is clean, safe and renewable – and it’s about to take a step forward in Utah.


University of Utah College of Engineering

University of Utah research professor, Joseph Moore, is leading a team from the U's Energy & Geoscience Institute selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to study new techniques and technology for developing geothermal energy. The team, one of five selected for a new DOE project called FORGE, is proposing to build an underground geothermal laboratory near Milford in Beaver County, Utah.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday that a team from the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute is one of five research groups selected to study new techniques for developing geothermal energy in places where it’s not currently feasible. EGI is part of the U’s College of Engineering.

The U team of geologists and engineers, led by EGI research professor Joseph Moore, will evaluate establishing an underground geothermal laboratory about 10 miles north of Milford, Beaver County, within the Milford renewable energy corridor. This corridor is home to two geothermal plants and a 306-megawatt wind farm. Utah’s geothermal power plants provide enough electricity to power nearly 70,000 homes in Utah, California and Arizona.

“This is really game-changing technology in terms of being able to develop self-sustainable energy for the U.S.,” says Moore, who also is a geologist.

The award is a Phase I grant in a three-phase DOE project known as FORGE, or Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy. If selected for Phase III, the FORGE laboratory would be built on private land and cover about 10 acres. The laboratory would consist of two wells drilled to depths of about 8,000 feet. One well would be used to inject water into the hot rocks below. The second will recover the heated water, which is recycled.

What makes geothermal systems work? Three ingredients are necessary for a geothermal system: water, heat from the rocks (at 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit) and underground cracks that allow water to flow through the hot rock. Moore is confident that the granite formations beneath the site near Milford are hot enough, but the rock lacks the permeability needed to form a natural reservoir for the water to flow through.

The wells drilled at the FORGE laboratory would be used to develop ways to produce the underground fractures needed to create large, sustainable geothermal reservoirs for electric production. The researchers would create the fractures using the low-pressure injection of locally available, non-drinkable water. This water will migrate along the newly created pathways and heat up as it comes in contact with the hot granite formations.

“The experiments, testing and analyses will be conducted in an environmentally benign way,” Moore says, and they will follow DOE and Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

The goal is to discover better ways to create underground flow that will allow communities throughout Utah and across America to construct sustainable and clean geothermal systems and power plants. According to the DOE, capturing even 2 percent of the naturally occurring thermal energy in the U.S. would provide 2,000 times more energy than we currently use.

DOE Under Secretary for Science and Energy Franklin Orr, and Douglas Hollett, the DOE’s deputy assistant secretary for renewable power, made the FORGE program announcement in Reno Monday. The EGI Phase I research team also includes scientists from the Utah Geological Survey, Idaho National Laboratory, Temple University, the U.S. Geological Survey and private contractors. The award of a $400,000 grant will kick-start the first phase. The DOE will select three teams for Phase II, and the final team for Phase III. Drilling activities at the site chosen for Phase III would begin in about two years, Moore says.

“This is important to the state of Utah, and it could potentially lower energy costs in the future, and reduce CO2 emissions,” said EGI Director and research professor Raymond Levey.

Contact Information
Vince Horiuchi, public relations associate, College of Engineering – office 801-585-7499, cell 801-556-5187, vincent.horiuchi@utah.edu

Vince Horiuchi | newswise
Further information:
http://unews.utah.edu/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent
25.09.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>