Thursday, December 3, 2015

USA, Idaho: GRC Member Leads Snake River Geothermal Consortium FORGE Bid

Idaho Vying To Be Nation’s Geothermal Research Hot Spot (INL)

GRC member Rob Podgorney (left) out in the field
GRC member Rob Podgorney is not making any secret of his ambition. A sign on his door at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies reads, “How are you going to change the world?”

As the geothermal energy chief of Idaho National Laboratory’s Energy Systems and Technologies Division, Podgorney believes there is a massive amount of energy to be tapped roughly two miles beneath Idaho’s Snake River Plain. He leads the Snake River Geothermal Consortium, one of five groups pursuing the development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Put simply, what the consortium seeks to do is pump water into the rock about 8,000 to 12,000 feet deep, fracture the rock and capture heat, then bring heated, pressurized water back to the surface to generate energy. Phase 1 studies for the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) are underway, thanks to $400,000 that DOE awarded to INL in April. Podgorney believes the consortium has a good chance of making the cut and being one of three participants selected for Phase 2, which involves up to $29 million in funding.