Technology Commercialization

Project: This spring, Cornell is taking a significant step toward trying to attain its carbon neutrality goals by drilling a proof‐of‐concept well as a prelude to undertaking its innovative Earth Source Heat (ESH) project. ESH is an enhanced geothermal system (EGS), which circulates cool water miles below ground where rocks are naturally 200°F (93°C) or higher, to return heat to the surface. At Cornell, the plan is to circulate water about 2 miles down, and to use the heated water to replace steam for the existing district heating system. Whereas geological temperatures are adequate to use the energy for heating (and other commercial purposes) over large parts of the continent, in a narrow range of suitable locations EGS systems can produce electricity. Locally, the impact of the project could save up to 82,000 metric tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere each year, which equate to 8% of the county’s emissions and 38% of Cornell’s. Globally, project success would indicate the potential technical viability of EGS to new geographies beyond known geologically‐favorable regions like Iceland and some parts of the Western United States. The SGE Intensive team will work to develop recommendations regarding the commercialization potential of EGS, including identification and analysis of potential favorable markets.