In the latest issue of the scientific journal, Science, writer Warren Cornwall published an extensive profile of the University of Utah’s advanced FORGE project, one of the world’s largest laboratories for Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) technologies.

Since 2015, the Utah FORGE team in the U’s College of Engineering, led by chemical engineering professor John McLennan and civil and environmental engineering research professor Joseph Moore, has been developing an EGS field laboratory near Milford, Utah, to research new technologies in the field. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the University of Utah to operate and manage the FORGE project to test, develop, and accelerate commercialization of EGS technologies.

Below is the Science story that looks at the development of the FORGE (Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy) laboratory and how it advances research in the field.

Milford, Utah—The day started inauspiciously for John McLennan, as he tried to break the curse haunting a 45-year quest to coax abundant energy from deep within Earth.

First came news of an overnight accident that left one researcher recuperating in a hotel with a sore back. Then reports trickled in that seismic sensors dangling inside holes bored deep into the Escalante Desert here were malfunctioning. Repairs were delayed by gale-force winds that whipped the sagebrush-covered hills and buffeted a drilling rig that rose 50 meters from the desert like a misplaced lighthouse. Workers were already a day behind schedule, and each day burned an additional $350,000.

Finally, shortly before sunset, McLennan, a geomechanics engineer at the University of Utah, was ready to take a critical step in advancing a $218 million project, 4 years in the making, known as FORGE (Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy). If successful, FORGE will help show how to transform dry, intensely hot rock found belowground all over the world into a major renewable source of electricity—and achieve a technical triumph where many others, over many years, have failed.

Click here to read the full story.