2019 in Review

The Utah FORGE project made a number of important advances in 2019 in preparation for the start of deep drilling in 2020. Instrumentation for seismic monitoring was enhanced with the drilling of two new vertical holes, 68-32 (1000’ deep) and 78-32 (3200’ depth), which house permanently installed downhole geophones (68-32) and a distributed acoustic sensing cable (78-32). The new downhole seismic monitoring was augmented with the temporary installation of a Schlumberger multi-level geophone string in 78-32, plus surface deployment of a high-density nodal array. All of this high-resolution seismic monitoring was put in place for stimulation experiments in well 58-32 that were run over a two and a half week period in late April.

Key outcomes of the stimulation include verification that the existing reservoir fracture network can be activated to transmit injected water. The work showed that there were multiple favorable intervals for stimulation in the well, including behind perforated casing. Microseismic events down to -2 magnitude tracked fluid flow in the stimulated intervals, proving the detection sensitivity of the seismic monitoring network. The resulting large data sets were processed and modeled using state of the art computer processing to understand the interplay of fracture dilation and fluid flow in the crystalline reservoir rock. A synthesis of this work is described in the Phase 2C topical report available from GDR.

Other notable outcomes in 2019 include improved understanding of geoscientific attributes. The Mineral Mountains West fault system was shown to terminate south of the Utah FORGE site. A flow test during the drilling of the shallow part of 78-32 proved adequate supply of non-potable groundwater for future needs. InSAR surveys indicate there was no induced ground deformation. Much of the research findings obtained from 2015 to 2018 were published by the Utah Geological Survey in an open access bulletin (UGS MP 169) entitled “Geothermal Characteristics of the Roosevelt Hot Springs System and Adjacent FORGE EGS site, Milford, Utah”, comprising 14 separate chapters.

Chem. Eng Students Win AIChE


Two teams of undergraduate students from the University of Utah’s Department of Chemical Engineering dominated the first ever AIChE K–12 STEM Outreach Competition. The teams, advised by associate professor (lecturer) Tony Butterfield, took first and second place with teaching modules on how thermoelectric energy works and how to build working air quality sensors with plastic toy blocks.

“We have spent about a decade putting together an exemplary outreach program here in the department,” Butterfield said. “It was a really rewarding experience to have our students go there and not only compete and win but to be able to interface with leaders in chemical engineering industry.”

The competition was held Nov. 12 at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting and Student Conference in Orlando and was designed to “showcase interactive experiments that demonstrate the wonders of chemical engineering and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to K–12 students,” according to the organization.

The first-place team comprised of students Katrina Le, Matt Dailey and Shaylee Larson presented a teaching module based on building working portable air quality sensors with toy building blocks similar to LEGOs. The module already is being taught in high school classrooms all over Salt Lake County.

For full story click here: https://www.che.utah.edu/2019/11/25/students-win-national-aiche-competition/

At the Governor’s Energy Summit

Among the many speakers and participants at this year's Summit were leaders and proponents of renewable energy sources.  This was the Eight's Annual Governor's Energy Summit and second  for the UtahFORGE team to represent the project which was among the few mentioned in the speeches by the Utah Governor's Energy Advisor Laura Nelson, Utah's Governor Gary Herbert, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and the EERE Assistant Secretary Daniel Simmons.

You can listen to the opening speech by the Utah's Governor Gary Herbert featured in this post by FOX13 news (scroll down to the second video, mention @ 4:25 time).

There is "enormous untapped potential for geothermal energy in the United States" said U.S. Secretary Rick Perry on the heels of the newly released study by the Department of Energy: GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Our Feet.



Generating Power:

These small hands-on modules developed by Dr. Anthony Butterfield and Andy Simonson from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah  are some of the tools that help in understanding how energy can be produced, eg. heat transfer.

2019 Geothermal Design Challenge Winners

Winning teams have been announced in the 2019 Geothermal Design Challenge™ Data Visualization contest. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), in partnership with the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), hosted the student competition that launched in January and concluded in April. The student competition challenged teams to research FORGE data, interpret information and create a data visualization portfolio that recommended a location within the FORGE footprint where an enhanced geothermal reservoir could be created with minimal environmental consequences.

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Geothermal Design Challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), in partnership with the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), invites both high school and university (undergraduate & graduate) teams to explore the future of geothermal energy and visualize the world of geothermal energy by participating in the 2019 Geothermal Data Visualization Design Challenge. Teams of 2 or 3 members will research data, interpret information and create a data visualization portfolio that will tell a compelling story about geothermal energy.

Geothermal Design ChallengeTM begins January 7