Utah FORGE and UofU’s Department of Communication partner up

In yet another example of inter-departmental collaboration, Utah FORGE, a geothermal energy research project, is delighted to be working closely with Dr. Sara K. Yeo in the University’s Department of Communication, within the College of Humanities.

The research being conducted by Utah FORGE near the town of Milford is focused on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technologies. The project is testing the tools and technologies to develop a geothermal resource where none exists naturally. If successful, these methods can be applied virtually anywhere in the world, providing a clean, inexhaustible energy source.

Harnessing the potential of geothermal energy could provide a great boost to the nation’s energy portfolio. Indeed, scientists suggest if we can tap just 2% of the energy found between 2 and 6 miles below the Earth’s surface, we would have more than 2000 times the energy used in the U.S. every year. It is literally the heat beneath our feet.

Public surveys indicate, however, that most people don’t know much about geothermal energy, and it’s seldomly included in discussions about renewable energy sources.  To better understand the current level of understanding and familiarity with geothermal energy, Utah FORGE is working with Dr. Yeo on a capstone course which includes surveying individuals about their awareness, knowledge, and opinions of geothermal energy.

“This is a unique opportunity for the students to put into practice the theories we discuss in class,” said Sara K. Yeo, Ph.D. and the professor conducting the capstone. “With the collaboration of the Utah FORGE team, the students developed the questions and determined the scope of the survey.”

“Our collaboration with Dr. Yeo is an exciting aspect of this project. It will provide us with a baseline from which we can judge the progress of our efforts to educate the public about geothermal energy and EGS,” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D., principal investigator of the project.

The 15-20-minute survey includes questions seeking to ascertain the public’s general understanding of geothermal energy and EGS. Responses are being obtained from 1000 individuals in 11 states across the western U.S. The capstone course will be repeated in the Fall Semester of 2021 to allow for a longitudinal data set to be created.

The Utah FORGE project is being managed by the Energy & Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Funding for the project is being provided by the US Department of Energy. It is one of the largest non-medical grants the University of Utah has ever received.

The University of Utah is no stranger to geothermal energy – it is purchasing 20 megawatts of geothermal electricity annually from Cyrq Energy, a geothermal developer actively working in Utah and Nevada.  Additionally, the Gardner Commons Building is entirely powered by that geothermal energy located just beneath our feet. With nearly half of its energy needs being met by renewable sources, the University of Utah is ranked eighth in the Green Power Partnership Top 30 College & University rankings.

 

December 22, 2020

Modeling and Simulation Forum #6

Utah FORGE Modeling & Simulation Forum #6


"Accessing Heat and Fluid Flow in Doublet Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS)"

Presented by: Pranay Asai (University of Utah) and Robert Podgorney (INL)

January 20 at 2 pm MDT - PLEASE NOTE THE TIME CHANGE

discuss the effect of well orientation and placement on the overall heat recovery from the EGS

This is the 6th forum of the series and is intended to have an open format to present modeling and simulation, both completed and planned, as well as activities being conducted by the Utah FORGE Team.

Pre-registration is required.

Utah FORGE and the College of Education develop a new partnership

Inter-departmental cooperation has always been a hallmark of success for the University of Utah. The latest example of this cooperation is found in two seemingly disparate groups: Utah FORGE, a geothermal energy research project, and the College of Education.

Harnessing the potential of geothermal energy could provide a great boost to the nation’s energy portfolio. Indeed, scientists suggest if we can tap just 2% of the energy found between 2 and 6 miles below the Earth’s surface, we would have more than 2000 times the energy used in the U.S. every year. It is literally the heat beneath our feet. However, most people don’t know much about geothermal energy, and it’s rarely included in discussions about renewable energy sources.

Utah FORGE and the College of Education are working to change that. Building on the research Utah FORGE is conducting near Milford, in southwestern Utah, the College of Education is creating lesson plans which include geothermal energy as part of topic discussions around renewable energy.

“This is a unique opportunity for the Urban Institute for Teacher Education (UITE) in the College of Education,” said Mary D. Burbank, Assistant Dean and Director. “We consistently strive to advance the material taught in schools both in Utah and around the country. This collaboration with Utah FORGE allows us to introduce important new subject matter to students of all ages.”

Ph.D. candidate Tamara Young from the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Assistant Professor Lauren Barth-Cohen from the Department of Educational Psychology are working on the lesson plans. These plans are designed to incorporate the latest Utah science with engineering education (SEEd) standards and include hands-on and virtual heat conduction experiments, data interpretation segments, and group discussion activities. The plans are intended for K-12 students as part of the overall science curriculum.

“We are so excited to be collaborating with our colleagues at the College of Education. Their long record of innovation is an amazing resource for us to help build overall understanding about Utah FORGE and geothermal energy in general,” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D., Principal Investigator of the project.

The goal of Utah FORGE’s research is to test tools and technologies for the creation of a geothermal resource where none exists naturally. If successful, these methods can be applied virtually anywhere in the world, providing a clean, inexhaustible energy source.

The Utah FORGE project is being managed by the Energy & Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Funding for the project is being provided by the US Department of Energy. It is one of the largest non-medical grants the University of Utah has ever received.

The University of Utah is no stranger to geothermal energy – it is purchasing 20 megawatts of geothermal electricity annually from Cyrq Energy, a geothermal developer actively working in Utah and Nevada.  Additionally, the Gardner Commons Building is entirely powered by that geothermal energy located just beneath our feet. With nearly half of its energy needs being met by renewable sources, the University of Utah is ranked eighth in the Green Power Partnership Top 30 College & University rankings.

December 3, 2020

Drilling Progress of Well 16A(78)-32

Current Ongoing Progress Updates:

The Utah FORGE team has started drilling its first highly deviated deep well. Highly deviated wells are frequently drilled for oil and gas production, but not by the geothermal industry. The Utah FORGE team will be one of the first to tackle this challenge while drilling in hot, hard crystalline granite.

Well 16A(78)-32 is the first deviated well to be drilled and it will take the next 4 months. The well spudded early morning on October 30th.

UPDATE November 9

Drilling has proceeded smoothly and advanced to almost 5,000' depth. The basement contact was crossed on Saturday, October 7 at about 4600' depth as anticipated.

UPDATE November 19

Drilling is proceeding on schedule, though at a slower rate, now that we are going through the hard basement granitic rock. Currently we have paused at 5,500' (half way to the 11,000 ft planned) to run an 18hr temperature survey.

UPDATE November 25

Well 16A(32)-78 is currently partway through the build, at a measured depth of about 6300 ft.  We successfully ran a temperature survey, an image log (UBI) and collected approximately 56 ft of core. The static temperature recorded at a depth of 5,501 ft depth is close to 300°F. Drilling the first part of the curve proceeded at about 30 ft/hr.

UPDATE December 1

Reached 7, 320 ft MD and now drilling into the tangent section of the well. TVD at 7, 031 ft.

Overview of the Utah FORGE site and the 16A(78)-32 drill pad.

Modeling and Simulation Forum #5 RECORDING

Utah FORGE Modeling & Simulation Forum #5


"Back Analysis of Injection Tests in Zone 2 on Well 58-32"

Presented by: Branko Damjanac (Itasca), Pengju Xing (University of Utah), and John McLennan (University of Utah)

October 28 at 11 am MDT

During Cycles 4 in Zone 2 on Well 58-32 water was injected at 5 bpm for 5 minutes. After approximately 20 hours of shut-in, Cycle 5 injection test was conducted at the same perforation cluster, again at 5 bpm for 5 minutes. The pressure histories after breakout exhibit generally increasing trends during injection. Interestingly, the pressures during Cycle 5 are greater than during Cycle 4.  The entire test, including Cycles 4 and 5, was back-analyzed using a fully coupled hydro-mechanical model with explicit representations of DFN of different levels of detail. The objective of the back analysis was to calibrate the model with respect to unknown and uncertain parameters and match the pressure histories, and in particular the increasing trends and greater pressures during Cycle 5.

This is the fifth forum of the series and is intended to have an open format to present modeling and simulation, both completed and planned, as well as activities being conducted by the Utah FORGE Team. This webinar has been recorded and is now available for viewing.

To follow along with the slides, the pdf of the presentation is available for download HERE

 

Drilling first deep well announcement

Utah FORGE Drills First of Two Deep Wells

The Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), is excited to announce that the drilling of its first highly deviated deep well has commenced. Highly deviated wells are frequently drilled for oil and gas production, but not by the geothermal industry. The Utah FORGE team will be the first to tackle this challenge while drilling in hot, hard crystalline granite.

The upper part of the well will be drilled vertically through approximately 4,700 feet of  sediments at which point it will penetrate into hard crystalline granite. At about 6,000 feet, the well will be gradually steered at a 5° angle for each 100 feet until it reaches an inclination of 65° from its vertical point. The total length of the well will be approximately 11,000 feet with the “toe” – or the end of the well – reaching a vertical depth of 8,500 feet. The temperature at this depth will be 440°F.

“This is an exciting phase in the Utah FORGE project and is key to proving Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technologies are commercially viable” said Joseph Moore, PhD, and Principal Investigator of Utah FORGE.

The goal of our research is to test tools and technologies for the creation of a geothermal resource where none exists naturally. Developing cost effective EGS technologies is an important step in capturing the enormous energy potential beneath our feet and bringing low cost, environmentally green, and renewable energy across the United States.

Once the well is completed, a series of tests will be run to facilitate the development of the EGS resource. Some of the tests will include determining the stress conditions through short-term injection experiments, during which microseismicity will be carefully monitored. Other tests will allow for the interpretation of the orientation and distribution of the existing and induced fractures in the granite, which will form the pathways for water to circulate and heat up in the newly created EGS reservoir.

The results of these tests and R&D activities will be used to plan the second deviated well. Drilling of the second well is tentatively scheduled for early 2022.

Open Press Release HERE

Modeling and Simulation Forum #4 RECORDING

Utah FORGE Modeling & Simulation Forum #4


"Coupled Simulations of Well and Reservoir Thermal Hydraulics"

Presented by: Robert Podgorney  and David Andrs (INL), Aleta Finnila (Golder),

Pranay Asai (University of Utah)

 

August 19 at 11 am MDT

The forum features a discussion of the development of coupled well hydraulics and reservoir hydraulics simulations. These simulations are being prepared in preparation for conducting long-term operational simulations of the FORGE reservoir, where multistage stimulation and limited entry are anticipated in the injection well. The presentation will provide a summary of the well flow simulator, numerical coupling between the well and the reservoir, and provide a few preliminary examples.

This is the fourth forum of the series and is intended to have an open format to present modeling and simulation, both completed and planned, as well as activities being conducted by the Utah FORGE Team. This webinar has been recorded and is now available for viewing.

To follow along with the slides, the pdf of the presentation is available for download HERE

Geothermal Resources Lecture #1

Conventional vs Unconventional …

Dr. Stuart Simmons introduces us to renewable energy in the 21st century – this month learn about conventional geothermal resources and the basic concepts of heat transfer, enthalpy and power as well as where and how geothermal energy is utilized.

 

This is the first lecture of the geoscientific series of lectures.The lectures will reside on our

Geothermal Resources Lecture Series page

 

Partner Spotlight – GRG

Geothermal Resource Group (GRG) is a geothermal resource and engineering consulting company that has provided consulting engineering and on-site management services in over 16 countries and at over 95 geothermal development projects worldwide. They have been a partner in the FORGE Utah project since the beginning, providing technical and design advice, and planning and supervision in the drilling of all deep wells, including 58-32, 68-32 and 78-32. They are currently working on the design of the first deep deviated well which will commence later this year.

GRG plays a critical role in the management, organization and running of a range of pre- and post-drilling and stimulation activities to ensure that project managers, contractors, and researchers are well informed of scheduling and onsite activities. A key goal is to ensure that everyone involved is fully briefed on the operations so that all tasks are executed to the highest professional and technical standard an in a timely manner that keep the project on schedule and within budget.

In Phase 3, GRG is working within the drilling team to specify the materials needed for the planned deep, highly deviated, injection well that represents one of the pillars of the Utah FORGE research facility. This involves many considerations that are not typical to conventional geothermal wells. In addition, specifications are being prepared for the drilling of additional seismic monitoring holes, as are plans for supervision of field activities later this year.

GRG’s involvement with Utah FORGE is led by Principal Drilling Engineer Bill Rickard, Senior Engineer Ernesto Rivas, and Geologist Mary Mann. GRG brings with them many decades of cutting edge expertise hard granite drilling technology, and they were instrumental in the drilling and completion of deep wells at Newberry and Raft River. GRG is excited to be a part of the Utah FORGE project and looks forward to ensuring continued drilling successes.