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
There is a substantial amount of research presently underway on these and other topics, both in private laboratories and in the national labs under the U.S. Department of Energy. For further information on research at the D.O.E. Check out the following links.
All the excitement of the latest EGS project, including videos, FAQ page and access to Google Earth.
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