Sept. 14, 2011

DOE awards LLNL more than $850,000 for geothermal research

The Laboratory has received $890,000 from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to help accelerate geothermal energy technology.

The main project, "Stochastic Joint Inversion for Integrated Data Interpretation in Geothermal Exploration," is led by Rob Mellors and colleagues Abe Ramirez, Bill Foxall and Xianjin Yang. The project aims to reduce resource exploration costs by developing a processing technique for a variety of geophysical and geological parameters.

In addition to the Lab project, Mellors and Foxall are partnering on a project with Temple University, which received $1.5 million, will employ new techniques to better interpret the shape, volume and evolution of a stimulated reservoir and optimize its performance.

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy funded 32 projects in 14 states with $38 million over three years.

As well as developing and testing techniques to find underground heat sources, the funding will support work to improve characterization and drilling of geothermal reservoirs, and other reservoir engineering processes to advance the technology.

Funding is provided through DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, as part of efforts to achieve President Obama's goal of generating 80 percent of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

This significant investment in clean energy development is part of DOE's effort to reduce the cost of geothermal energy, making it more competitive with conventional sources of base load electricity.