A $10,200,000 US research project with the Energy & Geoscience Institute of the University of Utah, U.S. Geothermal and APEX Hi Point LLC of Littleton, Colorado, will look at boosting geothermal energy production at the Raft River geothermal plant near Malta, Idaho. The five-year study will test the feasibility of injecting one of U.S. Geothermal’s dry wells with both cool and pressurized water to crack hot underground rocks. “Using these techniques to increase pathways in the rock for hot water and steam would increase availability of geothermal energy across the country,” says Energy & Geoscience Institute Director, Ray Levey.

The Raft River power plant currently produces 10.5 to 11.5 MW of electricity, which it sells to Idaho Power. Researchers estimate its capacity could be increased to 110 MW if the plant had access to temperatures that range from 275 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit at depths of 4,500 to 6,000 feet.

The project is funded through a $7,400,000 US grant from the U.S. DOE, $1,100,000 US from the University of Utah and $1,700,000 US in discounts and in-kind donations from U.S. Geothermal and Apex HiPoint. Earlier project details were provided in our October 15, 2008 edition. (Source: Idaho Business Review, September 9, 2009)

Contact: Ray Levey, Director, Energy & GeoScience Institute, University of Utah, (801) 585-3826, rlevey@egi.utah.edu, www.egi.utah.edu; Saf Dhillon, Investor Relations, U.S. Geothermal, (866)-687-7059, saf@usgeothermal.com, www.usgeothermal.com; Brian Fuller, Manager, Apex HiPoint, (303) 962 8201, bfuller@apexhp.com, www.apexhipoint.com