enhanced dry rock geothermal Enhanced Geothermal Roadmap WorkshopsThe Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy agency (EERE) has announced a roadmap workshop for enhanced geothermal. It is inviting a select — small — group of subject matter experts to take part in this roadmap workshop in order to help develop a plan for how the country can proceed in developing its dry rock geothermal resources and enhancing existing geothermal resources.

Enhanced geothermal, also known as dry rock geothermal is a form of engineered geothermal energy that uses hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to open up steam reservoirs in the hot rock resources deep underground. Fracking is also utilized by the oil & gas industry, but unlike in those uses no toxic chemicals are injected into the reservoirs. When used for opening up geothermal reservoirs only high pressure water containing poppants (which may be sand or specially engineered tiny ceramic beads) are forced under very high pressure into the hot rock, fracturing it to enable it to produce hot steam. This is a huge potential base load renewable energy resource, but it is also one that has some problems that need to be addressed. These also include the possibility that fracturing rock at depth may lead to the release of potential seismic energy contained in the stresses that are acting upon the deep rock formation being fractured.

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) of the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced on June 21, 2011 that its Geothermal Technologies Program is inviting subject matter experts to take part in the upcoming EGS Roadmap Workshop. Input from a diverse group of experts is paramount to develop a robust roadmap and a suitable path forward for the EGS program.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are engineered or enhanced reservoirs created to produce energy from geothermal resources that are otherwise not economical due to a lack of fluid and/or permeability. EGS is also known as hot dry rock geothermal power. EGS technology can enhance existing geothermal systems and create new systems where appropriate thermal and geologic characteristics occur.

This engineered form of geothermal energy has the potential for accessing the Earth’s vast resources of heat located at depth that is currently unavailable for power production due to the lack of naturally occurring near surface hydrothermal reservoirs. The potential recoverable energy is off the scale; in fact just in the US alone the potential is estimated at 16,000 GWe by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). In an effort to facilitate development of and overcome the challenges associated with EGS so this vast resource can be developed, the Geothermal Technologies Program would like to invite EGS subject matter experts to take part in the upcoming EGS Roadmap Workshop.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Roadmap Workshop Details and Contact Info

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program (the Program) will be hosting an Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Roadmap Workshop in July 2011. The meeting is expected to take place in Reno, NV or the Bay Area (California), further details are forthcoming.

To ensure an interactive and effective environment, participation will be limited to 10-15 individuals by an application process. For consideration, please e-mail the following materials to EGS@ee.doe.gov:

Name and contact information;
Your reason for participation and expected contributions to the Workshop; and
An attached biography and CV

The roadmapping workshop will allow the Program the opportunity to exchange facts and information with subject matter experts to better refine performance and cost metrics and milestones needed to overcome the challenges associated with the development and demonstration of EGS reservoirs.

The information collected from the workshop will be incorporated into the Program’s EGS Roadmap document and will be made available online for public comment. Currently, the draft document is expected to be available in September 2011. The Program will announce the release of the draft EGS Roadmap on its home page and by e-mail to the Geothermal Workshops and Webcasts distribution list. If you are not already part of the distribution list, please consider subscribing.