Environmental Protection

GreenFire Energy Taps DOE for Geothermal Technology R&D

GreenFire Energy recently announced it has received a $2 million grant award from the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program to investigate and evaluate the potential for low-temperature CO2-based geothermal power production technologies.

This grant funding will add to additional investment commitments and in-kind contributions to yield a sizeable initial project budget. Six other companies also received DOE funding.

GreenFire’s suite of technologies, which the company refers to as “CO2E™,” uses geothermally heated and pressurized carbon dioxide in closed-loop systems to produce electricity. This money will be used to initiate research and development at the St. Johns Dome, a natural CO2 dome in eastern Arizona believed to sit atop a moderate-temperature geothermal heat resource. This is the first time that a geothermal project has received funding to use CO2 as the geothermal fluid instead of water. Computer modeling suggests that this will yield significant advantages.

The St. Johns Dome area is considered to be in an optimal location at which to develop CO2-based geothermal energy. This is due to its combination of a large volume of low-cost natural CO2, the likely presence of a thermal reservoir underlying the dome area and a local connection into the power grid. The region in which the St. Johns Dome is located also contains six major coal-fired power plants that collectively emit about 90 million tons of CO2 per year; if carbon capture technologies are deployed in the future, these facilities can provide GreenFire with additional CO2 for added power production, while sequestering that CO2 at the same time. As power plants around the world begin implementing carbon capture and sequestration, many additional sites for CO2-based geothermal energy projects may become available.

“Receiving this grant is a big step for GreenFire Energy,” reports Randy Balik, vice president of Business Development for GreenFire. “We have believed for several years that CO2E™ holds tremendous potential as a suite of clean, inexpensive renewable energy technologies that can also sequester carbon dioxide. With this grant, the Department of Energy has now demonstrated its belief in GreenFire’s technology concepts, our team and in the design of our R&D program. With the DOE’s support and the support of our many collaborative team members, which include universities, national laboratories and other private companies, GreenFire is off to a great start in proving these potentially valuable technologies.”

GreenFire Partners, LLC is a Delaware-based company doing business as GreenFire Energy. The company, currently headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, focuses on economic solutions to creating renewable energy from both natural and waste-stream carbon dioxide.

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