(CLOSED) DE-FOA-0002219 FY 2020 Geothermal Technologies Office Hydrothermal and Low Temperature Multi-Topic Funding Opportunity - NOI

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

Penn State may only submit one Full Application for each topic area of this FOA. This limitation does not prohibit an applicant from collaborating on other applications (e.g., as a potential Subrecipient or partner) so long as the entity is only listed as the prime applicant on one Full Application submitted under this FOA.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, you must notify the Office of Limited Submissions following the instructions below. If interest exceeds the sponsor's institutional limit, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research will hold an internal Limited Submissions competition

Background and Purpose

The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), within the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), supports early-stage research and development (R&D) to strengthen the body of knowledge upon which industry can accelerate the development and deployment of innovative geothermal energy technologies.

GTO works to develop technologies to drive down the costs and risks of geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is a domestic energy resource from the heat of the earth, which represents a reliable, secure, clean, and nearly inexhaustible energy source.

This multi-topic funding opportunity aims to drive down costs and risks associated with the discovery of hidden geothermal systems in the Basin & Range region of the U.S., and to enhance energy system resilience through the utilization of Reservoir Thermal Energy Storage (RTES), Deep Direct-Use (DDU) and other geothermal direct use applications on military installations, hospital complexes, and other large energy end-uses across the U.S. such as university campuses.

Topic Areas

i. Topic Area 1 – Exploration RD&D: Hidden Geothermal Systems in the Basin and Range

Research Objective: to stimulate the continued discovery and development of hidden geothermal resources in the Basin and Range by expanding the public body of exploration tools and knowledge.

The project selected under this funding opportunity will design, apply, and validate a complete workflow for discovering hidden geothermal resources in the selected study area. The team will optimize the allocation of award funds across the project activities, with the concurrent goals of maximizing the identification of undiscovered resources, lowering risk and uncertainty for the overall resource portfolio, and validating the specific exploration methods and approach for the study area through some level of site-specific drilling.

Applicants shall carefully consider the size and location of their study area in light of the requirement for validation drilling and the total anticipated available funding. Project study areas are limited to the Basin and Range province5 of the western U.S. and structural extensions thereof, e.g. the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho.

The project selected under this topic will include some combination of the activities in the bulleted list below, to varying degrees depending on the degree of exploration that has already been conducted in the area of study. Activity sequencing may also depend on the choice of study area; for example, a project could begin with exploratory drilling at well-characterized prospects, and then use those data and models to conduct a Play Fairway study of a broader area. It is up to the applicant to develop and clearly present the rationale behind these decisions and include any relevant supporting information in the application. If any of these activities will be omitted, it is up to the applicant to clearly explain the logic behind that decision as well.

  • Pre-Survey Reconnaissance
  • Pre-drilling Exploration
  • Conceptual Modeling
  • Drilling Activities
  • Metrics Development and Reporting
  • Market Transformation

Topic Area 2 – Advanced Energy Storage Initiative (AESI): Bi-directional Energy Storage Using Low-Temperature Geothermal Applications

Research Objective: GTO seeks to move RTES, DDU, and other geothermal direct use and energy storage technologies forward from feasibility studies to the systems engineering phase, and to enable new, more resilient energy services that not only provide an alternative to grid-dependent heating and cooling but that also add resilience to the larger energy system in which they operate.

This FOA topic is broadly open beyond previous DOE awardees; however, any application that can include the supporting results of a previously completed techno-economic feasibility study may rank more favorably (see selection criteria for Topic 2 in Section V.A.i of this FOA).

In addition, Topic Area 2 addresses the EERE Advanced Energy Storage Initiative (AESI) crosscut topic pertaining to bi-directional energy storage. The AESI focuses on R&D that improves electric grid flexibility and grid services to cost-effectively improve grid reliability. Geothermal-specific AESI areas include flexible generation and bi-directional energy storage. This topic area focuses on bi-directional energy storage or technologies that can absorb, store and discharge energy such as reservoir thermal energy storage that in turn can support grid flexibility or direct end uses including buildings.

Awardees under this topic area will engineer, design, and test a geothermal direct use system that supports energy system resilience such as: reservoir thermal energy storage (RTES), deep direct-use (DDU), underground thermal energy storage (UTES), borehole thermal energy storage, or other form of bidirectional energy storage. The system shall be designed for heating and/or cooling of large-scale district facilities such as university campuses, industrial parks, or military installations. For the purposes of this FOA, a large-scale facility is defined as a space conditioned area greater than 10,000 square feet or having an annual thermal energy demand equal to or greater than 125 MMBTU. Any fluid temperature that can provide thermal energy to meet the intended purpose is considered applicable.

Cost Sharing

For research and development activities, the cost share must be at least 20% of the total allowable costs, except for cases where the prime recipient is an institution of higher education or nonprofit institution (as defined in section 4 of the Stevenson– Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3703)), in which case the cost share requirement is reduced to 0%.

For demonstration and commercial application activities, the cost share must be at least 50% of the total allowable costs.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor LOI Deadline: 
Mar 02, 2020
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Apr 08, 2020
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Each applicant must provide the following information as part of the Notice of Intent in a single PDF file (File name: [last name]_DE-FOA-0002219.pdf) no later than 4:00pm on the internal submission deadline:

  • Project Title;
  • Lead Organization;
  • Whether the application has been previously submitted to EERE;
  • % of effort contributed by the Lead Organization;
  • The project team, including:

    • The Principal Investigator for the prime recipient;
    • Team Members (i.e., subrecipients); and
    • Key Participants (i.e., individuals who contribute in a substantive, measurable way to the execution of the proposed project);
  • Technical Topic or Area; and
  • Abstract – The abstract provided should be not more than 200 words in length and should provide a truncated explanation of the proposed project.

Formatting Guidelines:
Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
Penn State OVPR NOI Deadline: 
Monday, February 17, 2020 - 4:00pm
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
No Applicants