************UPDATE*************

Minor modifications to Solicitation 2020-1 are posted on InfoReady. The modified text is highlighted in the Solicitation document. The modifications pertain to Topic 2, the eligibility of non-DOE FFRDCs and non-DOE GOGOs as a Prime Recipient, waivers for proposed work performed outside the United States, and requests for team changes before the full applications is submitted. Please read the revised Solicitation for more information.

Funding Opportunity

The University of Utah, in support of the Department of Energy’s (DOE), Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) is seeking applications under this solicitation for advancing Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technologies. This solicitation covers testing and evaluation of new and innovative EGS tools, techniques, and supporting science in the following EGS lifecycle categories:

  • Reservoir characterization (coupled imaging, drilling for interrogation and monitoring, high-temperature tools and sensors)
  • Reservoir creation (formation access, fracture characterization, zonal isolation, stimulation technologies)
  • Reservoir sustainability (long-term testing, monitoring, and operational feedback)

All eligible entities (including industry, universities, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, non-profit organizations, government agencies, etc.) can submit proposals as individual entities or teams.

University of Utah anticipates making up to 18 awards under Solicitation 2020-1 covering a range of activities. The solicitation process will be competitive. University of Utah reserves the right to fund, in whole or in part, any, all, or none of Solicitation 2020-1 applications. Multi-year awards will be phased and include go/no go decision points on an annual basis.

The desired outcomes of the Utah FORGE initiative are to:

  • Gain fundamental understanding of key mechanisms controlling fracture generation, fluid flow, heat transfer, and sustainability of EGS reservoirs
  • Allow the research community to develop, test, and improve EGS technologies
  • Enable rapid dissemination of technical data to the research community, developers, and other stakeholders to enable further, independent research
  • Enable a pathway towards a rigorous and reproducible EGS development approach
  • Reduce uncertainty and risk for commercial development

Fundamental gains in understanding the key mechanisms controlling the development of EGS reservoirs and resources are expected, in particular how to initiate and sustain fracture networks in crystalline basement rock using different stimulation technologies and techniques. Essential to this process is a comprehensive instrumentation and data collection program that will capture a high-fidelity picture of EGS creation and processes controlling the evolution of the system. Utah FORGE will facilitate comparison of technologies and tools in a controlled and well-characterized environment and enable the rapid dissemination of technical data to the research community, developers, and other interested parties.

The topic areas, their maximum potential funding level, and potential number of awards are summarized below. All awards will have a maximum period of performance of 3 years.

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A pre-recorded informational webinar to further outline the scope of the Solicitation is now available. NO registration required.

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Topic Areas for Technology Testing and Evaluation

Topic # and TitleFunding LevelAwardsAwardee
Topic 1: Devices suitable for sectional (zonal) isolation along both cased and open-hole wellbores under geothermal conditions$12 Million1 to 3TBA
Topic 2: Estimation of stress parameters$3 Million1 to 3TBA
Topic 3: Field-scale characterization of reservoir stimulation and evolution over time, including thermal, hydrological, mechanical, and chemical (THMC) effects$8 Million1 to 4TBA
Topic 4: Stimulation and configuration of the well(s) at Utah FORGE$12 Million1 to 3TBA
Topic 5: Integrated Laboratory and Modeling studies of the interactions among THMC processes$11 Million1 to 6TBA

Geoscientific overview of the Utah FORGE site - VIEW HERE

In order to apply or to download the full solicitation, potential applicants must register and create an account on the University of Utah Competition Space (InfoReady Exchange)

Apply here

Important dates and deadlines:

Solicitation Issue Date:April 20, 2020
Informational Webinar:May 6, 20201:00 PM Mountain Time
Submission Deadline for Concept Papers:May 27, 20202:00 PM Mountain Time
Encourage/Discourage Decision Notification:June 15, 2020
Deadline for Solicitation Questions:August 3, 20202:00 PM Mountain Time
Submission Deadline for Full Applications:August 10, 20202:00 PM Mountain Time
Expected Date for Selection Notifications:November, 2020

 

List of Topics and Descriptions

 

Topic 1: Devices suitable for sectional (zonal) isolation along both cased and open-hole wellbores under geothermal conditions

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Development of a field-scale device, system, or process that can isolate specific intervals along the wellbore, for long-term injection and production, at initial and full operation in situ pressure, temperature, and flow conditions, in either casing of a given casing Internal Diameter (ID) or an open hole over a range of IDs expected in the Utah FORGE injection and production wells
  • External casing isolation devices/systems in addition to wellbore cements that support zonal isolation in EGS environments.

Targets: Projects proposed under this Topic Area should consider the following and address how the proposed work can meet one or more of these targets:

  • Operational at 225oC for extended periods and thermal/pressurization cycles to demonstrate acceptable leak rates at design pressures defined by the applicant for diameters > 7 inches (17.8 cm).
  • Retrievable after a performance period of at least 12 months for systems intended to be retrievable.
  • Capable of operation without being damaged by the flow of fracturing fluid that contains proppant.

Existing Data Resources:

  1. Selected Utah FORGE GDR data sets
  2. Selected Utah FORGE Reports and Publications

Topic 2: Estimation of stress parameters

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Using complementary and established techniques to characterize the 3D in situ stress state in the Utah FORGE reservoir, including variations in principal stress orientations and magnitudes with depth.
  • Analysis of existing Utah FORGE data and contributing to the development of stress measurement protocols for the next phase of stress characterization performed by the Utah FORGE team or performed by the awardee alongside the Utah FORGE team.
  • Utilizing combinations of diagnostic fracture injection tests (DFITs), minifracs, high-quality wireline geophysical logs (including image logs), physical properties testing on recovered core, borehole failure analysis, analyses of earthquake source parameters and other data (respecting varying length scales of different measurement approaches) to characterize the 3D in situ stress state in the Utah FORGE reservoir.
  • Quantification of stress heterogeneity and associated impact on fracturing processes, including data that are proximal and distal to the borehole, to characterize/constrain variations in the in-situ stress field within the reservoir volume.

Targets: Projects proposed under this Topic Area should consider the following and address how the proposed work can meet this target: 

  • Uses at least one technique that is complementary to the analysis of DFITs performed at Utah FORGE at three or more locations to inform all three principal stress orientations and magnitudes.

Existing Data Resources:

  1. Selected Utah FORGE GDR data sets
  2. Selected Utah FORGE Reports

Topic 3: Field-scale characterization of reservoir stimulation and evolution over time, including thermal, hydrological, mechanical, and chemical (THMC) effects

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring the growth of the stimulated volume over time using broadband seismic, strain, and additional geophysical techniques. Data can be acquired with downhole and surface instruments.
  • Evaluating the relationship between seismic/aseismic deformation and resulting changes in reservoir permeability.
  • Assessing poro-thermo-hydro-mechanical properties controlling the source characteristics and frequency magnitude distribution of induced seismicity.
  • Understanding of THMC properties as they impact reservoir performance (e.g., fluid flow, heat extraction, and sustainability).
  • Utilization of natural and introduced tracers, geochemical monitoring, remote sensing, geophysical imaging (e.g., EM, ERT, seismic, etc.) and their integration to evaluate reservoir stimulation, growth, and temporal evolution.
  • Monitoring, acquisition, and interpretation of new and existing Distributed Acoustic Sensor (DAS) data.

Targets: Projects proposed under this Topic Area should consider the following and address how the proposed work can meet one or more of these targets: 

  • Measurement of parameters such as seismicity, temperature, pressure, strain, and fluid chemistry (e.g., pH, chloride, and conductivity at a minimum) within the reservoir (includes downhole measurements as well as surface-based measurements) during stimulation, shut-in, flow-back, and operations, to inform field-scale characterization of reservoir stimulation and evolution over time.
  • Integration of multiple data streams, including direct downhole measurements and inferences based upon other observations.
  • Characterization of earthquake source mechanisms (e.g., failure mode, stress drop, and focal mechanisms) and location precision (10 m or less), with recordings with bandwidth between 0.001 Hz and 1 kHz.
  • Successful deployment and running of sensors capable of withstanding 225°C borehole conditions for at least 12 months.

Field Constraints

  • Wells 58-32 (~7,500 feet total depth) and 78-32 (~3,300 feet total depth) are available for deploying downhole sensors both during and outside periods of stimulation. A third well (Well 56-32, expected depth ~4,500 feet) is planned and should be available when awards are made under this solicitation.
  • Well 68-32, drilled to approximately 1,000 feet, has dedicated seismic sensors emplaced and cannot be re-entered. Data from the well will be available.
  • Surface sensors can be deployed in and around the Utah FORGE site, extending on to BLM land with minimal restriction, as long as there is no subsurface disturbance to greater than 0.5 m depth.
  • There are no samples of fluids and pore waters from the reservoir. We expect flowback waters to be collected during the stimulation experiments that follow the drilling of the first deep well.

Existing Data Resources:

  1. Selected Utah FORGE GDR data sets
  2. Selected Utah FORGE Reports

 Topic 4: Stimulation and configuration of the well(s) at Utah FORGE

Area of interest:

  • An innovative implementation of current technologies or development of new technologies for reservoir stimulation at Utah FORGE that must:
    1. Consider the optimized placement of the future production well in respect to the geometry of the stimulated reservoir and sustained heat transfer.
    2. Address operational or engineering methods to overcome/mitigate impacts of stress heterogeneity, anisotropy, and stress shadowing as part of the stimulation approach.

The proposed stimulation designs should be optimized based on in situ reservoir data, including stress fields and pre-existing fractures, especially those that may cross lithological boundaries.  The applicant will collaborate and coordinate with Utah FORGE closely during the deployment of the proposed stimulation approach. Furthermore, the applicant will be expected to share their analyses to the Utah FORGE team and collaborate on identifying the ideal placement and completion of the production well to provide optimal stimulated geometry and heat transfer to the circulating fluid.

Targets: Projects proposed under this Topic Area should consider the following and address how the proposed work can meet one or more of these targets:

Proposed Stimulation technologies or methodologies:

  • Stimulation methods that establish multiple fluid flow paths between the injection and the production wells and that avoid short-circuiting.
  • Methods and technologies that are feasible to implement, compatible with Utah FORGE in situ conditions, and deemed safe for deployment in the Utah FORGE wells will be considered; however, technologies may be deployed in wells other than the Utah FORGE wells at the discretion of DOE and Utah FORGE (e.g., sites selected as Wells of Opportunity in DE-FOA-0002227).
  • Methods must be contained within a defined section of the wellbore and pass through or be implemented in a 7-inch diameter casing.

 Supporting modeling:

  1. Models should employ a predictive approach that analyzes different well alignments, informed by microseismic and other data from field monitoring, robust 3D characterization of the target formation, and an understanding of the relative influence of in situ conditions and evolution of in situ conditions over time on reservoir performance.
  2. Models are expected to include sensitivity studies covering:
    • A range of well geometries
    • Uncertainties in geology, structure, and stress gradients/heterogeneity
    • Completion strategies
    • Alternative stimulation plans (rates, volumes, interval spacings, etc.)
    • Predictions of seismicity ahead of stimulation.

Existing Data Resources:

  1. Selected Utah FORGE data sets
  2. Phase 2 Numerical Model data
  3. Selected Utah FORGE Reports

Topic 5: Integrated Laboratory and Modeling studies of the interactions among THMC processes

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Measurement of physical and mechanical properties and their anisotropy (e.g., permeability, thermal expansion coefficients, and poro-elastic constants as a function of temperature) relevant to modeling the response of the EGS rock mass.
  • Evolution of the unperturbed reservoir and response to stimulation and heat extraction over time.
  • Integrated laboratory/modeling work that includes:
    1. Permeability changes along a shear fracture and subsequent temporal evolution due to physical and geochemical processes at EGS conditions, with model evaluation of field implications
    2. Studies of the frictional/deformational behavior of faults and natural fractures relevant to FORGE reservoir conditions to characterize stimulation behavior, including fluid pressure thresholds for stimulation and partitioning between seismic and aseismic deformation
    3. Time dependence of poro-elastic response of fractured/unfractured media due to thermally and/or mechanically induced stress changes
    4. Produced-water chemical changes that could be indicative of changes in reservoir properties and flow paths over time; laboratory experiments should be compared to field data.

Targets: Projects proposed under this Topic Area should consider the following and address how the proposed work can meet one or more of these targets: 

  • Determination of relevant properties and processes to support modeling of reservoir performance at 150°C-250°C under realistic stress and lithologic/geochemical conditions.
  • Quantifiable reduction in the number of estimated inputs to numerical models and/or simulations of FORGE reservoir performance and implications on overall uncertainty.
  • Demonstrated use of THMC coupled models related to fracture creation, interactions with natural fractures, permeability changes, and heat transfer to understand reservoir performance and to guide possible interventions for optimal heat extraction.
  • Quantification of coupled processes related to permeability gain and loss that inform a successful modeling-informed application of reservoir engineering using the Utah FORGE site as the test case.

 Existing Data Resources:

  1. Selected Utah FORGE data sets
  2. Phase 2 Numerical Model data
  3. Selected Utah FORGE Reports
Search for other available data in the Geothermal Data Repository

Apply here

For questions contact utahforgesolicitations@utah.edu