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).
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.
In March, 2019, the two new vertical wells for monitoring were completed. The shallow well (68-32) was drilled to 970 ft depth, penetrating alluvial sands and gravel. The deeper well (78-32) was drilled to about 3300 ft depth, having intersected the contact with granitic basement rock aroun d 2600 ft depth. Both wells were instrumented with state-of-the-art sensors. Two borehole seismometers were installed into the bottom of well 68-32, whereas an optoelectronic Distributed Acoustic Sensor (DAS) cable was installed into well 78-32.
During the drilling of 78-32, an aquifer test was performed, which proved production of 46°C water from about 700-900 ft depth at 200 gallons per minute. This warm water represents subsurface outflow from Roosevelt Hot Springs, and it is non-potable due to high TDS, making it ideal for future use at the Utah FORGE project.
In April the stimulation phase was completed with great success. Injection tests were run at three distinct depth intervals in the reservoir granite; the first was in the open-hole section, whereas the other two were at slightly higher level within the cased section of the well.
During these tests, fluid flow and fracture opening were detected by both the Schlumberger geophone string array and the DAS cable in well 78-32. Televiewer logs were run in the open-hole section of 58-32 to assess the injection test effects. All of the data are now being processed.
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.
The snow is receding and the drilling of two new monitor wells for the Utah FORGE laboratory starts this week. The first well is being drilled to 1000’ and the second well will go to 3000’. Both are situated near the existing deep well, 58-32, that was completed in 2017. The new wells being much shallower, should be completed by early April, when they will be instrumented with state of the art sensors. During the drilling process, geologists and engineers will be on site, in order to provide important information about rock types and shallow groundwater resources.
For background, this phase of work involves bringing the site up to readiness to drill the two deep wells later in the year that will become the centerpiece of the FORGE laboratory. In the short term, activities are focused on:
installation of a permanent seismic monitoring network
building infrastructure (power, site office, communications hub, upgraded roads)
mini-flow injection testing and interpretation of results
acquiring additional field data to refine geoscientific understanding
convening of the Science & Technology Analysis Team (STAT).
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.
Following a three-year, five-way competitive process, the U.S. Department of Energy has selected the Energy and Geosciences Institute (EGI) at the University of Utah to develop a geothermal laboratory near Milford, Utah. The laboratory, called Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) will focus on developing enhanced geothermal systems which could greatly expand the nation’s capacity to produce geothermal energy. The FORGE award will consist of up to $140 million over five years.
“We thank the U.S. Department of Energy for this exceptional opportunity,” said John McLennan, co-principal investigator of Utah’s FORGE team. “Having this research program in Utah would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of Utah Governor Herbert; Dr. Laura Nelson, the Governor’s Energy Advisor; the Office of Energy Development; the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration; and the Utah congressional delegation in Washington. We appreciate the assistance that we have received from State representatives and from Beaver County and from Milford. At the University, strong support has come from the President of the University and the central administration as well as from the College of Engineering and the Energy & Geoscience Institute.”
“Utah is proud to provide national leadership in advancing energy innovation that will help drive affordable, baseload, renewable power to market,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert, in a statement from the Governor’s Office of Energy Development. “This will put Utah on the map as a world leader for geothermal research as well as expand geothermal production here in rural Utah and throughout the world.”
“The University of Utah is grateful for Senator Orrin Hatch’s leadership and his tireless efforts to advance important scientific research,” said University of Utah President Ruth Watkins, in a statement from Hatch’s office. “Because of his efforts to help secure this FORGE grant, the University of Utah will continue to lead the Nation as the preeminent institution for researching the commercial production of geothermal energy.”
The FORGE project involves drilling two 8,000-ft long wells in an area north of Milford, Beaver County, Utah. Cold water will be pumped into one well and heated by the rocks as it circulates, then will be pumped out of a second well. After the heat is extracted at the surface, the cooled, circulated water will be cycled back into the first well. The laboratory will use non-potable groundwater that cannot be used for agriculture or human consumption.
Currently, geothermal power plants need two things: hot rocks at depth, which can be found practically anywhere on the planet, and hot groundwater that can be extracted at the surface. Enhanced geothermal systems like FORGE could create their own hot groundwater, making it possible to place a geothermal power plant nearly anywhere.
Read the U.S. Department of Energy press release here.