The Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program recently announced a $15 million funding opportunity to research and develop innovative methods to extract heat from geothermal resources from the Earth’s crust to produce clean, renewable energy.

This funding opportunity seeks applicants to expand geothermal power generation into geologically diverse environments, such as permeable sedimentary formations - a widespread geologic resource of which a number of reservoirs are located in regions with high electricity prices. Naturally permeable rock formations reduce the need to increase permeability artificially, and minimize the risk of rapid drawdown of the reservoir’s heat to allow for sustained heat recovery.

Proposals should address potential environmental risk factors associated with geothermal heat recovery such as water consumption and induced seismicity. Cooperation and innovative partnerships among geothermal, mining, carbon sequestration, oil and gas industries, small businesses, national laboratories, and academic institutions are encouraged.

The pre-application concept papers are due October 1, 2010 and eligible full applications will be due November 30, 2010. The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) can be viewed on the FedConnect  website.