Did You Know that China is home to one of the oldest known geothermal pools in the world?


Did you know… that China is home to one of the oldest known geothermal pools in the world?

Huaqing Pool, located near Mount Li in the province of Shaanxi, China, has a long and storied history. The complex of hot springs has been in use for close to three millennia and was a famous getaway spot for multiple Chinese emperors. The ancient Chinese utilized the natural geothermal activity in the area for cleaning and bathing. Today geothermal energy is widely developed in China primarily for direct use and district heating. Moreover, the source of this heat relates to a dynamic geological history that includes the collision of continental plates which produced the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau.

The pools at Huaqing make up a large hot spring complex. The first stone pool was built during the Qin Dynasty from 206 BC to 220 AD, but the history of the site dates back even further, to the Western Zhou Dynasty, from 1046 to 771 BC. King You built the Li Palace in that era to enjoy the natural beauty, starting a long history of many emperors coming to visit. The area has been expanded since the original little stone pool was first constructed back in the Qin Dynasty. Today the site comprises many pools, historical sites, and even a daily performance! It’s a full-fledged tourist destination.

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow is a show performed daily during the warm months, between April and October. It tells the love story of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei, with over 300 actors in extravagant costumes. It is also home to the beautiful Nine Dragon Lake. The glassy water surrounds nine stone dragon carvings and is home to Koi fish.

The five historical hot springs on the main site are not available for public use, but there are plenty of hotels and resorts in the surrounding area that are open to everyone. It’s easy to enjoy a day at the Huaqing Pools, learning about the long history of the area, before heading back to your resort to experience the same waters that the ancient Chinese emperors did thousands of years ago.















U of U and Utah FORGE announce Solicitation 2022-2

Press Release August 15, 2022

University of Utah and Utah FORGE Announce Second Solicitation

            • Solicitation will total up to $44,000,000
            • Up to 17 awards anticipated
            • A pre-recorded informational webinar will be available on Aug. 23, 2022
            • Concept Papers are due October 10, 2022, at 2:00 PM MDT

SALT LAKE CITY, UT., Aug.15, 2022 - The University of Utah and Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) are pleased to announce Utah FORGE Solicitation 2022-2. This is the second formal call for research proposals on enhanced geothermal systems technologies from the Utah FORGE Program. Up to 17 awards are anticipated for up to a total of $44,000,000.

A pre-recorded informational webinar will be available on August 23, 2022.

The submission deadline for the two-page Concept Papers has been set for October 10, 2022, at 2:00 PM MDT.

The topic areas for technology testing and evaluations, their maximum potential funding level and the potential number of awards include:

Topic Title Potential Funding Potential Number of Awards
6 Adaptive Induced Seismicity Monitoring Protocols $2,000,000 2 to 3
7 Alternative Stimulation Schemes $8,000,000 2 to 3
8 Field Scale Experiments to Measure Heat-Sweep Efficiency $8,000,000 2 to 4
9 High Temperature Proppants $6,000,000 2 to 4
10 Multiset Straddle Packers for Open Hole Operations $20,000,000 2 to 3

Each award has a maximum period of performance of three years.

“We are pleased to offer this second funding opportunity. It allows us to engage a wide range of researchers in helping to build on the many successes already realized at Utah FORGE,” said Joseph Moore, Ph.D. and Principal Investigator of the project.

Utah FORGE is a dedicated underground field laboratory sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office. Its goal is to develop, test, and accelerate breakthroughs in Enhanced Geothermal System, or EGS, to untap the vast potential of geothermal energy and advance its development across the US and around the world.

For more information about the University of Utah and the Utah FORGE Solicitation 2022-2, how to download the full document, and how to submit your application, please visit the Utah FORGE solicitation webpage  (https://utahforge.com/rd/solicitations).

About Utah FORGE: The Utah FORGE site is located near the town of Milford in Beaver County, Utah, on the western flank of the Mineral Mountains. Near term goals are aimed at perfecting drilling, stimulation, injection-production, and subsurface imaging technologies required to establish and sustain continuous fluid flow and energy transfer from an EGS reservoir. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed by the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute. For more information, please visit our website at https://utahforge.com.

Media Contact: Christopher Katis - ckatis@egi.utah.edu


Did You Know NZ is home to geothermal golf course?

Did you know… New Zealand is home to a geothermal golf course?

Arikikapakapa is not your typical golf course. Located in Rotorua, New Zealand, the 18-hole course is referred to as a geothermal golfing experience. Along with the naturally abundant plant life, the geothermal activity in the area provides a beautiful landscape around the course. Steam vents can be seen while golfing, either from the Pohutu geyser, located nearby, or from the course itself!

The golf course is one of the oldest in the country, with roots dating back to 1902. The name Arikikapakapa comes from the Te Reo Māori (the language of New Zealand Māori) and means “the gentle sound of plopping mud”, which is a sound often heard by golfers while they play. The course is also referred to as the Rotorua Golf Club.

The course is a great place to go to relax and enjoy the geothermal atmosphere. The course owners publish a newsletter frequently, giving updates on the course and what’s going on at Arikikapakapa. The newsletter also includes some of the recent top scores from the course and results from the tournaments they host there.

Around the course, there are pools of boiling hot water. The water often steams up the course due to how hot it is. Dormant areas where there is no longer geothermal activity have been incorporated into the obstacles and challenges of this unique golf course.

The pumice rock present in the soil means that the grass can recover from rain quickly, as the water drains out faster than usual. Golfers can play even after it rains!

The Rotorua Golf Club blends geothermal activity with golf in a fun and interesting way. It brings a unique experience to the Central North Island of New Zealand. Good luck finding another golf course quite like this one! As it happens, you only have to drive down the road to find one in Wairakei and the other in Taupo. What a haven for geothermal golf.

Golfers enjoying the course in 1970 (Image via Flickr)


Successful 3-stage hydraulic stimulation of injection well 16A(78)-32

The Utah FORGE research team has achieved yet another major milestone in advancing enhanced geothermal system technologies with the successful completion of the first large scale 10-day stimulation trial (April 14-24, 2022) in the deep deviated well 16A(78)-32. Three intervals were tested in sequence at greater than 10,000 ft depth, including the open hole at the toe of the well (Stage I), followed by two shallower 20 ft intervals that were lined with solid casing (Stages 2 and 3). In each stage, between 3000 and 4000 barrels of water were injected under pressure, causing pre-existing fractures in the reservoir to dilate and transfer heat to the injected cold water. After a 4-hour shut in, the hot injected water was produced back to the surface under controlled flow conditions. The stimulation trial ran according to schedule and plan, including the seamless deployment and retrieval of the bridge plugs at high pressures and temperature.

The ability to initiate, propagate and ideally control hydraulic fracture growth is essential for realistically evaluating the potential for commercial EGS applications. Success here is important for promoting technical and hybrid EGS methods that use hydraulic injection to provide a heat exchange network or to achieve more effective connections with potentially productive natural fractures.

In late 2022 or early 2023, a second deep deviated well, the production well, will be drilled to intersect the hydraulic fractures. The connectivity of the fractures between the two wells will be established or improved, and short-term circulation testing will begin to assess the thermal viability geothermal reservoir.

Utah FORGE wraps up a 3-stage hydraulic stimulation of well 16A(78)-32

Utah FORGE is excited to announce the successful completion of the three-stage hydraulic stimulation of its first highly deviated injection well, 16A(78)-32.

Well 16A(78)-32 drilling was completed in January 2021. This is an inclined well (65°to the vertical) that will be the injection arm of the doublet that forms the heart of the Utah FORGE experimental configuration.

Subsequently, two additional monitoring wells – vertical – were drilled so that they, along with existing well 58-32, could serve as monitoring wells for future work at the FORGE site. In particular, wells 58-32, 78B-32 and 56-32 had been instrumented with fiber optics and geophones to triangulate on microseismic events during the recent fracturing in Well 16A(78)-32. These microseismic clouds define the morphology of three hydraulic fractures created at the toe (extremity) of Well 16A(78)-32.

A chronology of the events for the recent three-stage hydraulic fracturing is as follows:

  • Fourteen frac tanks were sited on the location and filled with Milford City culinary water. Each tank holds 500 bbl (21,000 gallons per tank) of water.
  • Frontier Drilling Rig 28 was trucked to the location, assembled, and brought into service.
  • A preliminary run of drill pipe was made into the hole. This drill string had a bit with a casing scraper and a drift sub. The bit was run to near the end of the open-hole section of the wellbore while the casing scraper was positioned to stay within the cased-hole and ensured the absence of debris. The drift sub was run one joint above the casing scraper and guaranteed that there was adequate clearance to run additional tools (in particular, bridge plugs).
  • Extreme Wireline next ran a perforating gun on the end of drill pipe into the openhole section (below 10,787 ft MD). In addition to the perforating gun, a mechanical casing collar locator was run and confirmed the casing tally so that the depth of the gun was more accurately known. This 3-1/8” diameter gun was 2 ft long with 6 shots per foot at 60° phasing. MTS Solutions pumped down the drill pipe to seat a dropped ball and fire the guns. The successful firing served as a check shot for orienting geophones in the three offset wells.
  • MTS Solutions next pumped a Shear Stimulation Test for one hour at an average rate of 0.36 bpm followed by shutdown and monitoring the pressure decline for an hour. A total of 52 bbl of water was pumped for this test.


  • Liberty Oilfield Services next pumped down the casing and followed the prescribed fracturing plan for stimulation Stage 1, reaching an injection rate of 50 bpm with slickwater (refer to Figure 1). 4,261 bbl were pumped. The well was shut in for four hours and flowed back.
  • After 16 hours of flowback, Interwell US ran a bridge plug to a depth of 10,670 ft MD (middle of the sealing element). MTS Solutions pumped to set the bridge plug. The bridge plug was tested to 5,000 psi using MTS Solutions’ pumping equipment through the drill pipe and later to over 7,000 psi using Liberty Oilfield Services’ pumping equipment, down the casing.
  • After tripping the bridge plug setting tool out of the hole, an Extreme Wireline perforating gun was run into the hole on the end of drill pipe. This was a 20-ft long perforating gun (6 shots per ft, 60° phasing, 21-gram Hero charges). It was run to cover a depth of 10,560 to 10,580 ft MD. MTS Solutions pumped a dropped ball to a seat to fire the guns. The guns were retrieved. All 120 shots had fired, providing an entry from the wellbore to the formation.


  • Liberty Oilfield Services next pumped 2,777 bbl of slickwater down the casing and followed the prescribed fracturing plan, reaching an injection rate of 35 bpm. This was Stage 2. There was an intentional hard shutdown in the initial 5 bpm stage and also part way through the 35-bpm stage. The well was shut in and pressure decline was monitored for 4 hours. The well was then opened up and flowed back for 12 hours. The treatment data are shown in Figure 2.
  • After flowback, Interwell US ran a second bridge plug to a depth of 10,466 ft MD (center of the sealing element). MTS Solutions pumped to set the bridge plug. The bridge plug was pressure tested to 4,960 psi by MTS Solutions through the drill pipe and later to 6,800 psi using Liberty Oilfield Services pumping equipment, down the casing.
  • An Extreme Wireline perforating gun was next run on the end of drill pipe to cover a depth of 10,120 to 10,140 ft MD. This was a 20-ft long perforating gun (6 shots per ft, 60° phasing, 21-gram Hero charges). MTS Solutions pumped to seat a ball and fire the guns. The guns were retrieved. All 120 shots had fired, providing an entry from the wellbore to the formation.


  • Liberty Oilfield Services next pumped down the casing for Stage 3 and followed the prescribed fracturing plan, reaching an injection rate of 35 bpm. A slickwater pad was pumped followed by a crosslinked CMHPG fluid with DEEPROP™ microproppant at planned concentrations of 0.5 to 0.75 ppa. The total pumped fluid volume was 3,016 bbl. The well was shut in and flowed back (for more than 15 hr). Refer to Figure 3.
  • During the shut-in time, the Liberty frac crew began to rig-down their equipment and demobilize.
  • The well was re-entered with drill pipe and an Interwell US retrieving tool to release and recover the second bridge plug that was set. The bridge plug was successfully released and recovered to the surface. After disconnecting and laying down the bridge plug the retrieving tool was run back into the well to recover the first bridge plug that was set. This plug was also successfully retrieved and laid down.
Figure 1. This is the treatment record for Stage 1. The green trace indicates, the pumping rate, reaching 50 bpm. The red trace is the surface treating pressure, exceeding 6,000 psi. This stage was pumped into the 200 ft long open hole section of the well.
Figure 2. This is the treatment record for Stage 2. The green trace indicates, the pumping rate, reaching 35 bpm. The red trace is the surface treating pressure, exceeding 7,000 psi. This stage was pumped into a cased and perforated zone (10,560 – 10,580 ft MD) section of the well. Note the hard shutdown (rate intentionally rapidly brought to zero) part way through the treatment.
Figure 3. This is the treatment record for Stage 3. The green trace indicates, the pumping rate, reaching 35 bpm. The red trace is the surface treating pressure, exceeding 7,000 psi. The other traces show microproppant concentration at the surface and at the perforations. This stage was pumped into a cased and perforated zone (10,120 – 10,140 ft MD) section of the well.

Following the recovery of the bridge plugs from the well, on April 23, 2022 the rig started rig-down operations and laying down drill pipe.

Geothermal Song Parody Contest Winners

Utah FORGE and Enel-sponsored Geothermal Music Parody Contest

In early 2022, the Utah FORGE team launched a pilot competition for middle school students in Mr. Zac Taylor's science classes in Milford High School.  This competition introduced students to the basics of geothermal energy in an engaging and fun way. Thanks to a generous contribution from Enel, the winning team received iPads and the runner up a gift certificate.

WINNERS: Tanumafili Aaitui, Maddox Smith, Carson Cheney, Christian Kelley

RUNNER UP: Nathan Costello


Prizes were awarded at the Milford City Council Meeting on April 19.

Winning team Carson, Christian, Maddox, and Tanu
Runner Up Nathan

To prepare for the competition, Mr. Taylor, was provided with lesson plans that include information on geothermal energy. These lesson plans meet the Utah State Science with Engineering Education Standards and are in line with the standards set forth in the Next Generation Science Standards. He also received other background information such as videos, podcasts, and fact sheets. Working in teams, his students submitted short music videos, replacing the lyrics of popular songs with their own lyrics incorporating geothermal terms. A classroom visit from Enel engineers provided real world application and insight into the general concepts taught in class and into geothermal energy specifically. Enel also hosted a guided field trip to the Cove Fort geothermal plant to provide students with an up-close look at how electricity is produced from geothermal energy.

Partner Spotlight – ENEL

Enel is a clean energy leader and innovator that’s electrifying the economy in North America with a mission to combat the climate crisis and build a low-carbon future. For over 20 years, Enel has advanced the economic, social and environmental benefits of clean electrification in the US and Canada. Enel provides a full spectrum of integrated energy services to help companies, cities and utilities reduce their carbon emissions and maximize the benefits of electrification through utility-scale renewable energy and storage, flexible energy resources, energy management, electric transportation and grid digitalization.

Through its Enel Green Power business line, Enel is a developer, long-term owner and operator of renewable energy plants across the US and Canada with a presence in 14 US states and one Canadian province. The company operates 64 plants with a managed capacity of over 7.6 GW powered by renewable wind, geothermal and solar energy. Enel operates the Cove Fort geothermal plant in Beaver County, Utah and is developing solar projects elsewhere in the state.

Cove Fort is the world’s first large-scale power generation facility to successfully combine geothermal with hydropower technology. Enel added a fully submersible downhole generator technology to a geothermal injection well, combining geothermal and hydroelectric power at one site. The cutting-edge generator used at Cove Fort captures the energy of the water flowing back into the earth to generate additional power, while also better controlling the flow of brine back into the ground. The downhole generator creates backpressure within the injection well that prevents two-phase flow and the associated vibration and potential for damage. The result is a first-of-its-kind innovation that can reduce operational and maintenance expenses, while also having the potential to generate additional revenues.

Enel Green Power invests in the sustainability of its host communities and identifies areas to create shared value with local partners. As part of its local engagement around Cove Fort, Enel has invested in STEM education programs through organizations including Beaver County 4H and Utah State University.

Enel partners with FORGE for geothermal-focused STEM education initiatives in Beaver County, using creative instructional methods like a song contest to engage students in the world of renewable energy. More initiatives as part of this partnership are in development.

Globally, Enel is the largest European utility by ordinary EBITDA, and is present in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with around 89 GW of installed capacity.  Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power is the world’s largest renewable private player, with around 50 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower plants installed in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The company’s geothermal portfolio includes the oldest geothermal plant in the world, located in Italy.

Modeling and Simulation Forum #14 Recording

Utah FORGE Modeling & Simulation Forum #14

"2021 Utah FORGE modeling summary and 2022 look ahead"

Presented by: Rob Podgorney (Idaho National Laboratory)

January 19 2021 at 11 am MST

Look back at the modeling and simulation efforts completed in 2021.

Looking ahead into 2022.

This is the 14th 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 available for viewing.

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

For previous forums and for the upcoming schedule check out the Modeling and Simulation FORUM page