News Release 330

State Geological Survey to play key role in geothermal energy search in Missouri 

Volume 38-330 (For Immediate Release)
Contact:  Hylan Beydler
573-368-2118

ROLLA, MO, JUNE 3, 2010 – The hunt for renewable geothermal energy in Missouri and the nation just got a little easier as part of a $17.79 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy project to assess geothermal energy resources across the country, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geology and Land Survey will receive approximately $300,000 during the next three years. 

The funding will be used to develop and populate a comprehensive nationwide geothermal resource data system by the nation’s State Geological Surveys to help identify and assess new fields.  The $17.79 million grant is the second largest one awarded by DOE for geothermal energy out of federal stimulus funds.

“Our nation’s geothermal energy resources hold enormous potential to heat our homes and power our economy,” said Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Mark N. Templeton.  “The long-term success of geothermal energy technologies depends upon a detailed characterization of geothermal energy resources nationwide.  This project will help us understand the geothermal potential in Missouri to an extent never before possible.  It’s exciting to be part of this national effort among all the state geological surveys to address such a critical energy need for the state and the country.”  

The Association of American State Geologists organized a coalition of 46 of nation’s state geological surveys to populate a new National Geothermal Data System with relevant state-specific geothermal data. 

As a member of the coalition, the Department’s Geological Survey Program will be collecting and contributing data from across the state that will aid industry in the identification and development of geothermal energy, and integrating them into the web-based National Geothermal Data System.

“Our state geological survey has for decades collected, interpreted, and archived large volumes of data that will help identify and characterize Missouri’s geothermal energy resources,” said Joe Gillman, state geologist, and the department’s Division of Geology and Land Survey director.  “A key goal of this project is interoperability, or a seamless data integration across all the databases and computer servers in the system.  Most of the data throughout the nation exists in paper form and will be digitized for electronic distribution.”

Missouri will compile location information for water wells, oil and gas wells, ground source heat pumps, rock core and cuttings.  Temperature data will be collected from oil and gas production, existing deep municipal water wells, and wells currently under construction.  This information will be combined with existing geologic data to compile a statewide temperature gradient map that will be available in digital format. A geographic information system (GIS) layer will then be developed with the associated metadata. 

Compiling state-specific geothermal data in an integrated distributed and searchable data system should drive renewed efforts to identify, assess and exploit geothermal energy resources across America.  This national collaboration of state and federal agencies, universities and industry, has the potential to reshape America’s energy landscape, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and leverage non-renewable petroleum resources well into the 21st Century. 

The Arizona Geological Survey is the designated lead agency that will manage the DOE-funded effort for AASG to populate the NGDS.

The Missouri Survey is located in Rolla at 111 Fairgrounds Road, along with the Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology.  Visitors are welcome to tour the museum free of charge from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Additional information may be found on the division's website: dnr.mo.gov/geology.

###