California exploration using self-flying planes; A Colorado geothermal manufacturer

In California’s Surprise Valley, self-flying planes are aiding geothermal exploration. In Colorado, a geothermal coproduction manufacturer wins a DOE grant.

California: Self-Flying Planes Aid Geothermal Exploration
Colorado: Geothermal Co-Production Manufacturer Wins DOE Grant

California: Self-Flying Planes Aid Geothermal Exploration
Characterizing complex unseen seismic and geothermal systems is challenging. To learn more, USGS geophysicist Jonathan Glen along with scientists and engineers from NASA, Carnegie-Mellon University and Central Washington University, are using an experimental system called “payload-directed flight” to study and map the underground fracture and fault systems of Surprise Valley, Calif. Glen has long mapped the area on foot. The two-year study uses unmanned aircraft to decrease risks and costs.

Colorado: Geothermal Coproduction Manufacturer Wins DOE Grant
Cool Energy Inc., based in Boulder, won a $1 million Phase II Small Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build and test its first 20-kW prototype Stirling engine, which it calls the GeoHeart Engine. The equipment is intended for tapping low-temperature geothermal sources, i.e., coproducing geothermal at oil and gas wells. The Cool Energy technology will be used with liquids in the 100°C to 200°C temperature range. According to the company press release, “Most of the wells with usable temperatures for the Cool Energy technology are in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Wyoming and California.” Details of the design are explored on

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