In October 2008, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) agreed to provide $43.1 million for 21 research projects to research, develop and demonstrate enhanced Geothermal Systems (“EGS”) which are next-generation geothermal energy technologies capable of producing baseload electricity across the United States. DOE’s geothermal technologies program works in partnership with U.S. industry to establish geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to the U.S. energy supply. With cost share by the applicants, the public-private investments came to approximately $78 million. 

One of the recipients selected by the DOE was Stanford University in California whose proposal included the development of reservoir engineering approaches including nanotechnology. This week Stanford announced that it had developed a method to learn more about the fracture systems in geothermal reservoirs by using tiny particles (nanoparticles) as tracers to characterize fractured rocks. The ultimate goal of the Stanford project is to utilize the nanoparticles as sensors to characterize subsurface fractures.  

You can learn more about the DOE’s geothermal program at