What is FORGE?

Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy

An on-site (subsurface) laboratory where scientists and engineers will be able to develop, test, and accelerate breakthroughs in Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) technologies. Click here for more information from the DOE website.

What is EGS?

Natural geothermal systems consist of a heat source, permeable pathways (fractures or permeable aquifers), and a fluid to transport the heat. Enhanced Geothermal System reservoirs are hot, dry rocks that lack the natural permeability required to generate energy pathways. Temperatures sufficient for electric generation can be found at drillable depths throughout the country. For EGS cold water is injected into hot rocks to transfer the heat to the surface to create electricity.

FORGE UTAH will:

  • Provide an underground laboratory for developing and testing innovative tools and stimulation techniques for developing EGS reservoirs
  • Extend existing technologies developed for oil and gas beyond current capabilities to successfully produce electricity from hot crystalline rocks
  • Demonstrate technologies that can be applied across the USA
  • Provide domestic and international scientists and students with funds for research to expand future energy security and availability
  • Demonstrate suitability and safety of large-scale geothermal energy development to the public

Subsurface Temperature Map at 20,000 ft

Forge team

The DOE Forge project is very closely tied to EGI through the researchers focusing on this project. EGI and UGS Research Scientists in the project management team are listed below:

Publications from these researchers can be found here.

  • Meets Department of Energy site requirements – Temperature greater than 175 °C (~350 °F), At a depth of 2 km (~6500 ft), reservoir formation in crystalline rocks (granite)
  • Environmental Considerations – Free of protected flora and fauna, no identified risks to groundwater
  • Water Rights and Use – No competition with human or agricultural water use or access
  • Seismic Considerations – University of Utah seismic station monitoring since 1981, low risk of local and regional seismicity
  • Infrastructure – Within the Utah Renewable Energy Corridor
  • Access for Scientists – 24/7 Access with supportive federal, state, and private landowners, no high security or sensitive operations exist on the Milford Site
  • Data – Area has been subject of intense investigation and drilling by scientists, students, and geothermal companies since mid 1970’s

Why the University of Utah & EGI?

  • The Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI) is recognized world-wide as a leader in geothermal science and as a center of excellence
  • EGI has conducted more than $800 M in geoscience and engineering research in oil and gas, geothermal, and carbon management since 1972
  • Successfully conducted and managed geothermal research for U.S. and international government agencies, private organizations, and U.S. National Laboratories
  • Experienced drilling geothermal wells
  • Developed and continues to manage the successful DOE EGS Raft River Demonstration Project (2010–2017)
  • 43 years of geothermal project management and expertise
  • State-of-the-art equipment and measurement facilities

  • Provides long-term investment in education for future generations

  • Demonstrated expertise in communicating with the public

Milford, which is 10 miles (16 km) from the proposed site, is incorporated as a city in Beaver County.  A major factor in Milford’s history is the Union Pacific Railroad, which passes through the town and offers the possibility of shipping materials by rail and then using truck transport for the final few miles to the FORGE site. Longer-term, if the site is successful in creating power generation opportunities, the existing DC line from the IPP coal plant to southern California is nearby, and a new transmission line with 3 GW capacity is being permitted following a similar route to the IPP line. Although wind, natural gas, and solar are the dominant power sources being considered for these lines, the FORGE site has the potential to also prove GW-scale power potential.

Forge site