Electro-Hydraulic Fracturing for Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Default ARPA-E Project Image


Program:
OPEN 2021
Award:
$3,796,672
Location:
Somerville,
Massachusetts
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
07/29/2022 - 07/28/2025

Critical Need:

Developing and commercializing geothermal reservoirs as an alternative energy source would provide 24/7 renewable energy and accelerate decarbonization of the energy sector. In Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), the high geothermal gradient heats water circulating through the hot rock’s existing fracture network, and subsequently, the water is extracted for power production. Traditional hydraulic fracturing methods from the oil and gas industry have been attempted in EGS reservoirs with minimal success, however. This is due to high temperatures > 200 °C, challenging downhole conditions, and few fractures that allow fluid flow pathways to heat the water.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

To use EGS as an unlimited renewable energy source, Eden will develop a new class of hydraulic fracturing methods to create fluid pathways for water to be heated and extracted for power production. Eden’s new “Electro-Hydraulic Fracturing” (E-HF) technology will use electricity and water to access a more extensive fracture network for heat recovery. This E-HF process will increase the heat transfer surface area for the water circulating through fractures, improving EGS power plant efficiency up to 500%. This technology can potentially save 270 billion gallons of water by limiting water use compared with traditional hydraulic fracturing and would provide access to untapped renewable geothermal energy.

Potential Impact:

E-HF uses state-of-the-art high-power equipment to increase EGS power production efficiency.

Security:

EGS re-stimulation can be completed using 100% renewable energy. E-HF increases EGS power generation, which will lead to increased investment in EGS development, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and reduce energy-related emissions.

Environment:

This technology will help to unlock the potential of EGS, which contains 98% of the earth’s geothermal power resources.

Economy:

By maximizing the power generation of EGS reservoirs, E-HF can decrease the levelized cost of electricity to $0.07/kWh, 75% less expensive than current EGS power plants.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Mr. Paris Smalls
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
paris.smalls@edengeopower.com

Partners

Idaho National Laboratory

Related Projects


Release Date:
02/11/2021