Research and Development
The principal impediments to the development of geothermal energy are a set of engineering problems that must be solved in order to make exploration, drilling, extraction and conversion of geothermal energy substantially less risky and more potentially profitable than is currently the case. The basic task is to make the cost of geothermal power competitive with power generated from currently available sources of energy - mostly coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy.
The areas in which research is being conducted are:
- reducing the uncertainties in locating and analyzing geothermal resources
- developing drilling techniques necessary for reaching depths of 7 - 10 miles below the surface
- creating fractured rock conditions at those depths where the heat of the rock can be effectively and renewably tapped
- developing a practical Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) to make geothermal energy more widely available