Skip to main content

NREL Joins Collaboration to Study Enhanced Geothermal Systems

September 29, 2017

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is partnering with seven other U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national labs and six universities to better characterize the performance of enhanced geothermal systems. The project, named EGS Collab, is led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. NREL will work primarily on the project’s thermal, hydraulic, mechanical, and chemical modeling efforts.

In enhanced geothermal systems, a fracture network can be enhanced or engineered, thus bypassing the geographic limitations of conventional geothermal energy. The EGS Collab project will conduct fracturing and fluid circulation experiments deep underground to validate and improve technical understanding and subsurface models.

NREL researchers—Bud Johnston and Koenraad Beckers—are working with Colorado School of Mines professors—Yu-Shu Wu, Phil Winterfeld, Jennifer Miskimins, and their students—to model the project’s underground experiments. The team is running the models on NREL’s High Performance Computing system

“It’s exciting to see NREL collaborate with the Colorado School of Mines to develop new capabilities and participate on important projects,” said Bud Johnston, NREL’s laboratory program manager for geothermal energy. “This important experiment could help to unlock 100 gigawatts or more in domestic energy potential associated with enhanced geothermal systems.”