Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Energy Resources Program Research Area:
Geothermal Energy Exploration and Development

Geothermal Energy Exploration and DevelopmentThere are two main objectives of the Energy Resources Program’s geothermal energy development research:

  1. To reduce uncertainties associated with finding, characterizing, and evaluating geothermal resources, and
  2. To develop and understand the enhancement of permeability and fluid flow to significantly increase production, i.e., Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS).

The ultimate purpose is to lower the cost of geothermal energy for electric power generation and direct uses (e.g., agricultural and industrial applications, aquaculture). The program encompasses theoretical, laboratory, and field studies, with an emphasis on multidisciplinary approaches to solving the problems at hand. Our researchers seek to transform fundamental scientific concepts, derived through our basic research studies, into tangible products that can be directly applied by the geothermal industry worldwide.

Core Capabilities

Geophysical techniques for subsurface imaging

  • Imaging reservoir stimulation, subsurface structures and fluids
  • Improved imaging resolution
  • Coupled analysis (acoustic, EM, rock physics)

Geochemical and isotope techniques for tracing fluid-rock histories

  • Reactive transport in fractured media
  • Geochemical impact on permeability, physical properties of rocks
  • Flow path engineering (creation, mitigation)
  • Improved tracer technology

Reservoir engineering and coupled process modeling

  • Predictive and process models
  • Coupled Thermal-Hydrologic-Mechanical-Chemical processes
  • TOUGH family of codes
Research Projects

Geophysical Techniques for Subsurface Imaging

Geochemical and Isotope Techniques for Tracing Fluid-Rock Histories

Reservoir Engineering and Coupled Process Modeling

EGS Field Demonstration

EGS Outreach Video Screenshot