US DOE Announces $20 Million to Boost Development of Innovative Geothermal Technologies

a 19-ton turbine inside the Calpine geothermal power plant in California

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced up to $20 million for research, development, and demonstration of cutting-edge geothermal technologies that could reduce U.S. demand for fossil fuels and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions. DOE’s objective through this funding opportunity is to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of non-conventional geothermal energy technologies in research areas including low-temperature fluids, geothermal fluids recovered from oil and gas wells, and highly pressurized geothermal fluids. Through this research, the department hopes to provide clean, low-cost renewable energy by proving and commercializing technologies that might otherwise remain out of reach.

Funding will be available in the following topic areas:

A. Low-temperature geothermal fluids at temperatures up to 300° Fahrenheit or approximately 150° Celsius.

B. Geothermal fluids produced from productive, unproductive, or marginal oil and gas wells, mining operations, or other hydrocarbon or mineral extraction processes.

C. Highly pressurized or “geopressured” fluid resources that show potential for cost-effective recovery of heat, kinetic energy, and gas.

Potential project proposals might include innovative cooling systems — for example, air-cooled, water-cooled, or hybrid systems — or use innovative working fluids. Other concepts might utilize more efficient heat exchanging materials or maximize energy output through a combination of electricity generation and direct-heat technologies.

Prospective applicants for this funding opportunity announcement are encouraged to begin developing partnerships, formulating ideas, and gathering data for potential applications. The expected close date of this announcement is July 9, 2010.

The complete funding opportunity announcement can be viewed at FedConnect.

DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Program works in partnership with U.S. industry to establish geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to the U.S. energy supply. For more information on these awards, please visit GTP’s website.

Read Geothermal Power Plants: Principles, Applications, Case Studies and Environmental Impact from Amazon.