Ahmad Ghassemi, the McCasland Chair and professor of petroleum engineering at the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy at the University of Oklahoma, received $2.5 million of a $28 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy with an additional $700,000 in matching funds from Coso Operating Company for a study that aims to develop technologies to increase power production from geothermal wells while decreasing production costs.
“I am very proud to hear that the Department of Energy is equipping and empowering the University of Oklahoma to pursue a groundbreaking project to unleash safe and sustainable energy,” said Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04). “Widely recognized as a center for scientific excellence and innovation, OU’s contributions will indeed be critical in honing production and refining the use of geothermal energy.”
Thanks to this support from the DOE and Coso Operating Co., Ghassemi and his collaborators will first do extensive modeling around the geothermal wells that will be used in the research. In continuous operation since 1987, these wells sit on the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, which is in the heart of the Coso Volcanic Field in eastern California.
Among the members of the team are graduate students from the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy.
“Involvement of postdoctoral and graduate students from OU give the project a nice educational aspect as well,” said Ghassemi. “Not only will it contribute to their education, but it can potentially expand the geothermal workforce that is needed as the technology expands in the country.”