DOE Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) is a dedicated site where scientists and engineers will be able to develop, test, and accelerate breakthroughs in enhanced geothermal system (EGS) technologies and techniques.
FORGE’s mission is to enable cutting-edge research and drilling and technology testing, as well as to allow scientists to identify a replicable, commercial pathway to EGS. In addition to the site itself, the FORGE effort will include a robust instrumentation, data collection, and data dissemination component to capture and share data and activities occurring at FORGE in real time. The innovative research, coupled with an equally innovative collaboration and management platform, is truly a first of its-kind endeavor.
- All R&D activities at FORGE will focus on strengthening our understanding of the key mechanisms controlling EGS success–specifically, how to initiate and sustain fracture networks in basement rock formations. This critical knowledge will be used to design and test a methodology for developing large-scale, economically sustainable heat exchange systems, paving the way for a rigorous and reproducible approach that will reduce industry development risk and facilitate EGS commercialization.
- R&D activities may include, but are not limited to, innovative drilling techniques, reservoir stimulation techniques and well connectivity and flow-testing efforts. The site will also require continuous monitoring of geophysical and geochemical signals.
- Additionally, dynamic reservoir models will play an integral role in FORGE by allowing the site operator to synthesize, predict, and verify reservoir properties and performance. R&D activities will have open participation, via competitive solicitations to the broader scientific and engineering community.
- As advancements in EGS are made over the course of FORGE’s operation, R&D priorities are likely to shift and change in response. As a result, FORGE will be a dynamic, flexible effort that can adjust to and accommodate the newest and most compelling challenges in the energy frontier!
Historically, more than 45 wells have been drilled for geothermal exploration within the NASF and Ormat lease area, including four exploration wells within the proposed FORGE site that will be available for use in the project. Data from these wells will be merged with available geophysical and geological data to generate a detailed 3D model of the FORGE site.
Substantial drilling and analysis of these wells indicates temperatures greater than 350°F (175°C) at depths of 5,000 to 7,500 ft (1.5 to 3 km) beneath the site; however, flow testing has demonstrated a lack of permeability in the project area. These conditions have prohibited the traditional development of the geothermal resource. The Fallon team will further explore the location to assess its potential for EGS development.