Cornell has secured a U.S. Department of Energy grant, expected to total about $7.2 million, which will fund exploratory research – in the form of a 2-mile-deep borehole – to help verify the feasibility of using a novel geothermal energy system to heat its campus buildings.
The grant, announced July 29, is among funding for several projects around the country that the DOE said will promote the advancement of next-generation geothermal energy technologies.
“Geothermal energy is an important part of the Trump administration’s diverse, all-of-the-above energy strategy,” Undersecretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes said in a statement. “These projects will help bring the massive promise of clean and reliable, geothermal energy, for both power production and direct use, closer to reality for all Americans.”
Earth Source Heat (ESH) has been part of Cornell’s Climate Action Plan since 2009 as a potential means of moving toward carbon neutrality on campus by eliminating fossil fuels for campus heating. ESH is an ambitious proposal to heat most buildings on the Ithaca campus using a deep geothermal system that would draw thermal energy stored deep within the Earth.