Utah FORGE Facts
The Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, known as Utah FORGE, is a dedicated underground field laboratory for developing, testing, and accelerating breakthroughs in Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) technologies. Utah FORGE is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and based at the University of Utah. The field laboratory is located near the town of Milford, Utah in Beaver County.
Below we’ve outlined a series of clarifying facts to help you navigate a technologically challenging topic and to help ensure overall accuracy.
What Utah FORGE is / does:
- Utah FORGE is a multi-year research project funded by the Department of Energy
- Our goal is to greatly expand the availability of geothermal energy worldwide
- We are testing and optimizing new and innovative geothermal drilling technologies
- We are creating a means for energy production that involves cold water injection and heat exchange with naturally hot rock that is about 7,000 feet depth and hotter than 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
What Utah FORGE is not / does not do:
- We are not a geothermal plant nor will we be developing one at this time, rather this is a future goal
- We will not be producing electricity as part of the current program of research
- There is no physical laboratory building; all the research centers on information obtained from deep and shallow wells drilled beneath the surface
- Although called a reservoir, it is not a pooled body of underground water; rather, it is a system of very small enhanced fractures that allow injected water to move through, and be heated by, the surrounding hot rock
To accomplish this, over the project’s lifetime, we will drill two deep highly deviated wells. The first was successfully completed at the end of 2020 and will be used to inject cold water into the ground to establish fluid flow connections and a heat transfer network. The second is tentatively scheduled to be drilled in 2022 and will be used to bring that heated water to the surface. Additional wells have been and will continue to be drilled to continuously monitor seismicity and to test various tools. To create the underground heat transfer network, or geothermal reservoir, we are stimulating the existing tiny fractures to enhance rock permeability. When permeability is established, we can then create, sustain, and monitor an EGS reservoir (or pathway) for long-term energy production. At all times, we carefully monitor and mitigate the induced seismicity naturally caused by stimulation.
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Utah FORGE Drill Site Overview
Making of a Geothermal Reservoir
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EGS Reservoir Diagram
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