Press Release: Drilling of the Production Well Begins

Utah FORGE Drills Geothermal Production Well.

  • Second deep deviated well in doublet pair.
  • A highly deviated well drilled in hard, hot crystalline granite – will mirror previously drilled injection well.
  • Total length of the well will be approximately 10,700 feet.


SALT LAKE CITY, UT., 26 April, 2023 - The Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is excited to announce that the drilling of its second highly deviated deep well has commenced. This second well will serve as the production well of a two well doublet, and will mirror the existing injection well, which was drilled between October 2020 and February 2021. The new well will be located approximately 300 feet from the injection well.

Like the injection well, the upper part of the well will be drilled vertically through approximately 4,550 feet of sediments at which point it will penetrate into hard crystalline granite. At about 5,600 feet, the well will be gradually steered at a 5-degree angle for each 100 feet until it reaches an inclination of 65 degrees from its vertical point. The total length of the well will be approximately 10,700 feet with the “toe” – or the end of the well – reaching a vertical depth of 8,265 feet. The temperature at this depth will be 440 degrees F.

“This is a crucial next step in the Utah FORGE project’s goal of de-risking the tools and technologies required for making Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technologies commercially viable” said Dr. Joseph Moore, and Principal Investigator of Utah FORGE. “This new well will serve as the production well. In the future, water will be pumped into the injection well, travel through the reservoir of tiny fractures that we previously opened, absorb the heat from the hard, hot crystalline granite, and then be pumped up through this new production well to the surface. This will help us capture the enormous energy potential beneath our feet and bring low cost, environmentally green, and renewable energy across the United States.”

Once the well is completed, a series of tests will be run to continue facilitating the development of the EGS reservoir and its long-term connectivity. Additional tests will also include determining the stress conditions through short-term injection experiments, during which microseismicity will be carefully monitored.

About Utah FORGE: The Utah FORGE project is managed by the Energy & Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Funding for the project is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. The 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. For more information, please visit our website at


Media Contact: Christopher Katis

Media Kit

Did You Know … Europe’s Largest Banana Producer Is Not Who You Think?

Did you know .... Europe's largest banana producer is not who you think?

One of the northernmost countries in the world is not the first place that comes to mind when you think about bananas. This tropical fruit is commonly associated with places near the equator: warm, temperate climates. However, thanks to greenhouses powered by geothermal energy, Icelanders are proving that delicious bananas can be grown anywhere.

The volcanic springs in the area provide the heat to maintain warm temperatures in the greenhouses for bananas to grow. (Photo from Kasper Friis)

Due to cold climate and limited sunlight, it would be impossible to grow bananas in this environment, if attempted outdoors. So, they thrive in temperature-controlled, artificially lit greenhouses that provide them with year-round favorable conditions.

Iceland is known for its natural geothermal activity. The locals have been using the heat for many years, ever since the Vikings settled in the country in the 9th century. Originally just used for bathing and washing clothes, as technology advanced, Icelanders continued to find new ways to use the heat, including heating homes, pools, and greenhouses. In fact, one of the major greenhouse plantations is located in Hveragerði, which means “hot springs garden”.

Bananas aren’t the only warm-weather plant found growing in the land of fire and ice. Researchers have successfully attempted to produce many other plants on the island as well, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, coffee, cocoa, and avocados.

While these bananas are not commercially viable to grow and sell, the farmers keep producing them as a hobby. Incidentally, there may be other significant benefits to having isolated banana farms since the bananas grown there are not susceptible to Panama Disease. The disease is caused by a fungus that is impacting the yellow fruit all over the world. This isolation could help save certain types of bananas from diseases that could wipe them out.

The bananas grown in Hveragerði and other geothermal plantations around Iceland make the country the largest producer of bananas in Europe. Although the Spanish territory of the Canary Islands grows more bananas, they’re technically a part of Africa, leaving Iceland to take the top spot. Europe in general is too far north to grow many warm-weather crops, but thanks to geothermal developments, Iceland is proving that nothing is impossible.


At the Core of Utah FORGE – Expanding Geothermal Literacy

Expanding Geothermal Literacy - Fostering the Scientists of Tomorrow.

By Sarah Buening (UofU) March 30, 2023

In November 2022 and February 2023, the Utah FORGE outreach team visited three elementary schools in Beaver County — Belknap Elementary, Milford Elementary and Minersville Elementary — to introduce a geothermal poster contest to fifth and sixth graders. After being taught basic geothermal concepts and participating in hands-on science activities,  the students were asked to make posters including artwork and a few short paragraphs explaining an aspect of geothermal energy. Winners and runners-up were selected from each school and awarded prizes courtesy of Enel Green Power, with winners getting recognized in their classes and in the local newspaper.

For young students like these, becoming energy literate is particularly important. The average child born today will need to emit about eight times less carbon dioxide than their grandparents to comply with Paris Climate Agreement goals. With President Biden’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, changes to our energy portfolio are inevitable. As energy needs evolve, today’s young people will witness and become responsible for overseeing drastic changes in infrastructure. Any optimized clean energy palette should include geothermal as a viable energy source. Equipping young people with a greater understanding of alternate energy resources will better prepare them for the changes to come and, as this contest showed, really excite them!

Fueling Student Interests

Since the contest’s conclusion, teachers and students alike have already asked the Utah FORGE team if it will be repeated next year. One teacher remarked that they had, “never seen the students so engaged for something like this before.” The contest’s success reflects that young people are receptive to and interested in having this type of knowledge. Students sparked interest in geothermal for a number of reasons, with many posters citing that near their home in Beaver County, three geothermal power plants produce enough energy for approximately 66,000 homes. Some of these students have parents working at the Utah FORGE or other geothermal sites, making it a personal and proximal issue for them.

Even at their young ages, students did a remarkable job comparing and contrasting the benefits of one form of energy versus another. Many spoke about how geothermal can use any type of water to operate and that it’s clean for the atmosphere because geothermal power plants don’t cause pollution — or as Brandon at Belknap Elementary put it, geothermal doesn’t use a “motor that puts dirty air into the air.” They also referenced geothermal energy’s benefit of constant availability, since it doesn’t have to rely on variable inputs like wind or sun. Whitlee from Milford Elementary remarked that, “Geothermal energy works 24/7 even when the sun is not shining and the wind isn’t blowing.”

Students also marveled at the history and unique uses of the earth’s heat. Humans have utilized heat from the earth for at least 10,000 years, and as Delaney at Belknap Elementary reported, cultures like the “Ancient Romans, Chinese and Greeks used [hot spring] water for therapeutic bathing,” as well as for “cleaning, warmth and cooking.” They recognized that these practices continue today, in tandem with newer geothermal applications like heating greenhouses to grow flowers and produce. Finley from Milford Elementary also noted that industrial geothermal energy can be used to pasteurize milk and dehydrate food.

Student fascination extended even beyond humankind, as some researched the ways in which other animals have adapted to use geothermal heat for their species’ growth and evolution. To several students’ excitement, snow monkeys soak in hot springs to warm and relax themselves.

Geothermal energy is the heat beneath our feet, and especially to the young imagination, that’s pretty cool. It’s important that we nourish the excitement young people have for this technology because their natural curiosity can fuel the creation of future climate leaders, activists and engineers. Students like Lacey from Belknap Elementary know that, “The ground below your own backyard or local school has enough heat to control the climate in your home or other buildings in the community.” Going forward, students like her should receive no shortage of opportunities to help recognize geothermal’s full potential as part of the country’s energy portfolio.

Realizing Geothermal Energy Potential

As of 2021, about 40% of all carbon dioxide pollution came from fossil-fuel burning power plants, and the U.S. relied on fossil fuels — petroleum, natural gas and coal — for 79% of its primary energy production. Luckily, renewable energy is on the rise. In 2019, for the first time since before 1885, U.S. annual energy consumption from renewable sources surpassed coal usage. Still, most of this growth comes from solar and wind. Despite the U.S. becoming the leading producer of geothermal energy in the world, only 2% of its renewable energy production currently comes from geothermal sources. However, it has the potential to serve us well beyond that capacity.

Geothermal energy has the potential to supply 10% of today’s energy needs. The Western U.S., including Utah, holds the best potential for geothermal electricity production in the nation. As energy demands rise and the energy landscape changes, it becomes more important than ever to utilize that energy. Improved education and outreach play a paramount role in that mission. So, for young people growing up in the west, a familiarization with geothermal energy is especially crucial.

Investing in renewable energy literacy will help today’s students prepare for the future, but it will also give them the opportunity to pursue their interests. We at Utah FORGE, for one, are happy to see students like those in Beaver County ready and willing to learn about all that geothermal energy has to offer.


Did You Know … the story of the snake, the fish, and the toad?

Did you know… the story of the 'hot' snake, the fish, and the toad?

Tucked away in different corners of the planet, there are animals with unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in some rather surprising environments. Despite the extreme conditions and challenges, certain species are even able to make hot waters their permanent home.

The Tibetan Hot-Spring Snake (photo Science)

Take for example the Tibetan Hot-Spring snake. This snake is exactly what it sounds like: a snake that lives in the hot springs of Tibet, high in the mountains, where the weather is very cold. Like other reptiles, snakes are ectothermic, or cold blooded, meaning they do not regulate their own body temperature and rely on the external environment to do so. Most reptiles will sunbathe or hide underground to stay warm, but the Tibetan Hot-Spring snake achieves the same outcome in a rather unusual way. By living in the warm waters of the natural hot springs occurring in the area, these amazing reptiles can stay heated year-round.

The Hot-Spring snake has a special adaptation found in their genome; a gene called EPAS1. This gene makes them much more sensitive to heat sources as compared to their close relatives, allowing them to seek out the hot water much more easily. They have been observed leaving hot springs to travel to rivers and colder lakes to feed on the fish and other small creatures living there, and then navigating back to the hot springs afterwards using their heat-seeking senses.

The Julimes pupfish (Wikipedia)

These snakes aren’t the only animals that are able to survive and thrive in hot waters - a small species of fish in Mexico can live in super-hot water up to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. The Julimes pupfish lives full-time in the area’s hot springs, earning it the title of “the world’s hottest fish.” These pupfish could be considered “extremophiles”, animals who are able to tolerate very harsh conditions. Imagine living your whole life hotter than the hottest hot tub!


Dixie Valley toad (photo Washington Post)

Finally, there is the Dixie Valley toad. This toad has specifically adapted to survive in the warm waters around the Dixie Valley in a remote area near Reno, Nevada. When it was discovered and described in 2017, it became the only new species of toad discovered in the US in nearly 50 years.

Most toads spend the colder months underground in burrows so that they don’t freeze along with the water around them. The Dixie Valley toad doesn’t burrow, instead it remains in the warm springs all winter long. The toads prefer the warm water over any other options for heat that may be available to them. It must work for them, since they have been thriving in the springs for thousands of years.

These animals are great examples of how even though conditions may be harsh and seemingly inhospitable, it’s good to remember the timeless words of Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park: “Life finds a way.”

Did You Know … you could have a swig of geothermal rum in the near future?

Did you know ... that you could have a swig of geothermal rum in the near future?

In Cornwall, United Kingdom, Matthew Clifford has big dreams to start up a rum distillery powered solely by the natural geothermal resources. Alcohol distillation takes up a lot of energy, so Clifford decided that he would attempt to power his idea with the heat from under the ground.

In the rum production process, energy is expended 24/7 and the need to keep everything temperature controlled can be extremely intensive over the long period of time that’s required to produce alcohol. Therefore, the Celsius Project had the idea to power the process with geothermal energy. Geothermal is available around the clock regardless of outdoor conditions or energy shortages, perfectly fitting the needs for distilling alcohol.

In Cornwall, the rocks under ground are hotter than anywhere else in the United Kingdom, which is why Clifford targeted that area for his project. The Celsius Project plans to use the heat from the “hot rocks” to heat the buildings needed for production and storage. They also have plans to use the “waste heat”, which is the by-product of turning the energy generated from the geothermal power into electricity. Their goal is to produce zero-carbon renewable power once the site is up and running.

Unfortunately, the project ran into a bit of a snag which has forced the owner to look for a different location. The original project site at the United Downs in Cornwall has been in disrepair for many years and has partially been used as a landfill. Although the plan was originally approved, the proposal received resistance when fans of stock car racing stepped in. A portion of United Downs is a raceway beloved by many racing fans in the area. The Cornwall Council stepped in and told Clifford he could not build the distillery there, despite already having received approval a few months prior.

Now, the Celsius Project is without a home. There has not been a new site chosen yet, and the project has moved into a smaller version of itself inside a handful of shipping containers, which are currently housed near Penryn. While a geothermal rum toast for New Year’s 2023 was unavailable, if Clifford is able to find a new location to permanently house the project and get it off the ground, there may be a chance ‘hot’ rum could be available for New Year’s Day, 2024.

We’ll drink to that!



Did You Know … that Scottish clubbers use dance beat to generate heat

Did you know ... that Scottish clubbers use dance beat to generate heat?

In Glasgow, Scotland, dancers are taking “the heat beneath their feet” to a whole new level. An innovative technology is able to harness the energy produced by dancing clubbers and turn it into a way to heat the building.

The SWG3 nightclub has committed to going net-zero carbon emissions by 2025, and their plan for a one-of-a-kind heat pump system is a huge part of that. After being concerned with their emissions output, the nightclub’s management started to think of ways that they could reduce their footprint. After lots of meetings and planning, one idea became this new heat pump system, now known as Bodyheat.

Bodyheat works by taking the hot air inside the venue, generated by the movement of dancing clubbers, and pumping it underground. The heat is used to warm up a carrier fluid, which is then sent through a series of pipes into twelve 500-foot-deep boreholes and stored in a rock serving as a thermal battery. A typical cooling system would take the hot air and pump it outside into the atmosphere, but SWG3 puts that heat underground instead.

When it’s time to use it. the heat travels back into the pipes, back up above ground to the heat pumps, and used to heat the event spaces and provide hot water for the venue. SWG3 is used as an art display gallery and office space during daytime hours, which is when the heat, created by the clubbers, is used.

The nightclub invested about $670,000 into developing and installing this technology, but SWG3 projects that the savings on energy bills can offset that cost in about five years, saving them money in the long run.

David Townsend, founder of TownRock Energy, a company that helped develop Bodyheat, says that different types of music can generate different levels of energy. For example, the Rolling Stones are considered a middle-of-the-pack producer. One can get about 250 watts over the course of a song when playing the Stones. An experienced DJ could get up to 600 watts with the right song at the right time. The more excited and into the music the crowd gets, the more energy is available for harvesting.

Storing the energy produced by the movement of the body could be revolutionary. A similar system could be implemented in places like gyms, indoor sporting events, concert venues, or anywhere else where people are dancing or jumping up and down.

In terms of moving SWG3 towards their carbon-neutral goal, the Bodyheat system could reduce the nightclub’s outputs by around 60-70%. SWG3 is completely eliminating their gas boilers because of it. If the technology could be implemented in other locations around the world, it could help reduce the total amount of resources spent on heating buildings and allow the world to lower its carbon footprint.