System For Enhancing Geothermal Energy Extraction





With the ever-growing issues of energy security and climate change, there is increased interest in the use of renewable sources of energy such as geothermal energy.  Geothermal energy is everywhere in abundant supply, challenging engineers and inventors to harvest it economically. Researchers at the University of Nevada Reno have created a novel method for enhancing the energy extraction from a geologic formation.



Our researchers have created a new geothermal energy extraction system that uses a multiple-level fracture network system accessed through a series of pilot holes. This method operates on a top to bottom flow of the convective cooling fluid which leads to a significantly improved subsurface heat exchanging process. This system will benefit industry since it increases the exit temperature of the hydrothermal fluid, therefore, increasing thermodynamic efficiency.



  • The system increases the output temperature of the cooling fluid, and in this way increases the efficiency of the power system with an increased thermodynamic efficiency.
  • This system allows for converting a larger portion of the gross thermal energy lifted from the ground into usable mechanical or electrical energy.
  • The fractured zone can be made sufficiently large in volume (to access stored heat) as well as large in outside surface area (to access convective-conductive heat from the hot surrounding rock mass), and therefore, can be designed to extract large amounts of geothermal energy for sufficiently long time periods.
  • The patented heat extraction system can be used in combination of additional enhancement techniques to multiply the thermodynamic advantages.








Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shannon Sheehan
Manager, Technology Commercialization
University of Nevada, Reno
George Danko