In a major milestone, and a literal breakthrough, University of Utah scientists have successfully connected two wells at the nation’s leading geothermal energy research site: Utah FORGE. A mile and a half below the surface, water pushed down in one well traveled through cracks in super-hot granite to emerge at the site’s “production” well, where its accumulated heat can be tapped off for power. 

Utah FORGE, located 10 miles north of Milford, Beaver County, is a 220 million dollar collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U’s Energy and Geoscience Institute (EGI), which draws from Price College’s departments of Chemical, Mechanical, and Civil & Environmental engineering, as well as the College of Science’s Department of Geology & Geophysics. This underground field laboratory aims to develop technology and techniques for tapping into the massive reservoirs of heat within the Earth’s crust. The connection of the two wells, achieved by a high-tech form of fracking, is one step closer to being able to derive electricity from a continuous flow of water heated by geothermal energy. 

A day after the breakthrough, FORGE principal investigator Joseph Moore and co-principal investigator John McLennan led the media on a tour of the facility. The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News both published articles on the project and its recent developments, echoing wider interest in this clean and sustainable energy option. Those stories can be found here: 

Utah’s FORGE geothermal site proves it’s more than just wishing wells,Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News.

Utah geothermal project hits a milestone, pumping water through deep granite,” Tim Fitzpatrick, Salt Lake Tribune.