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NREL publishes a variety of publications related to geothermal energy, including journal articles, conference papers, and technical reports.

View all NREL publications about geothermal energy research.

Featured Publications

GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Electric Sector Potential to Penetration

NREL Technical Report

Chad Augustine, Jonathan Ho, and Nate Blair

This report describes research and analysis performed in support of the U.S. Department of
Energy Geothermal Technologies Office for its Geothermal Vision Study ("GeoVision"). This Potential to Penetration Task Force report forecasts future growth and deployment potential of hydrothermal and EGS geothermal technologies in the electric sector that could be achieved by meeting targets for technological improvement and by easing market and structural barriers as described in the GeoVision study.

GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Barriers

NREL Technical Report

Katherine Young, Aaron Levine, Jeff Cook, Donna Heimiller, and Jonathan Ho

This report provides an analysis of non-technical barriers to geothermal development that create delays, increase risk, or increase the cost of project development, including land access, permitting, access to transmission, and market conditions that may create challenges in developing a power purchase agreement.

GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Thermal Applications

NREL Technical Report

Kevin McCabe, Koenraad Beckers, Katherine R. Young, and Nate Blair

This technical report provides the results of the research activities conducted by the GeoVision Geothermal Direct Use (GDU) thermal task force and NREL dGeo teams, covering dGeo input parameters, simulation approach, and output results. The dGeo model simulates the potential for deployment of geothermal DERs in the residential and commercial sectors of the contiguous United States with a focus on two specific technologies: geothermal heat pumps and geothermal direct use for district heating. These teams investigated the potential for geothermal district heating penetration in the United States up to the year 2050 as part of the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office GeoVision study.

GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Impacts

NREL Technical Report

Dev Millstein (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), James McCall, Jordan Macknick, Scott Nicholson, David Keyser, Seongeun Jeong (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), and Garvin Heath

This report focuses on the potential external benefits of future growth in the geothermal electric power and geothermal heating and cooling sectors that would be facilitated by meeting the targets for technological improvement and by easing market and structural barriers. The report calculates benefits based on forecasts of the current geothermal electric power and geothermal heat pump sectors, and the broader electricity generation and building heating and cooling sectors that cover the present day out to 2050. Additionally, a brief section describes potential benefits that could be realized from the expansion of geothermal direct-use district heating systems.

Mexico’s Geothermal Market Assessment Report

NREL Technical Report

Francisco Flores-Espino

Recent changes in Mexico’s energy sector, combined with the government’s ambitious clean energy targets and a variety of other factors, have created favorable conditions for investment in the country’s geothermal energy sector. Since 2013, Mexico has enacted comprehensive reforms to open significant components of its energy sector to private investment and accelerate the deployment of new renewable energy generation. These energy reforms present the most significant change to the electricity sector in the country in the last few decades. This report is intended to help U.S. companies in the geothermal sector understand potential business opportunities created by these recent changes in the Mexican energy market and regulatory environment.

Solar Field Optical Characterization at Stillwater Geothermal/Solar Hybrid Plant

Journal of Solar Energy Engineering

Guangdong Zhu and Craig Turchi

In this work, an extensive measurement on mirror slope error and receiver position error has been performed in the field by using the optical characterization tool called distant observer (DO). Combining a solar reflectance sampling procedure, a newly developed solar characterization program called firstoptic and public software for annual performance modeling called system advisor model (SAM), a comprehensive solar field optical characterization has been conducted, thus allowing for an informed prediction of solar field annual performance. The paper illustrates this detailed solar field optical characterization procedure and demonstrates how the results help to quantify an appropriate tracking-correction strategy to improve solar field performance.

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