Deep Direct-Use Feasibility Studies

Funding Agency:
Department of Energy

Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) seeks to conduct feasibility studies of large-scale, low-temperature deep-well geothermal systems coupled with advanced direct-use applications and cascaded surface technologies whose applications will extend the reach of geothermal into geologically distinct parts of the country beyond the western U.S. These systems are referred to herein as deep direct-use or DDU. Feasibility studies funded under this FOA will support subsequent geothermal direct-use applied research and analysis projects, also known as renewable thermal applications, which seek to harvest heat from geothermal brines and use it to directly heat (or cool) buildings, as well as for other beneficial thermal processes. By displacing high-temperature power generation with low-to-medium temperature geothermal fluids, significant energy conservation gains can be achieved for end-use processes with moderate temperature requirements. Direct-use geothermal applications have the potential to provide cost-effective, renewable thermal energy in large portions of the U.S. 

 The concept for DDU is to engineer large-scale, multi-application geothermal direct-use projects that can replace or be installed in lieu of conventional district heating and cooling systems; along with other cascading thermal applications such as water heating, ice making, laundry drying, pool and sauna heating, etc. If the geothermal resource temperature is sufficient, the system could also be a combined heat and power (CHP) application, with the fluid generating power from a binary unit(s) prior to the direct-use applications. 


  • Required Concept Papers: Dec. 15, 2016
  • Full Applications: Feb. 22, 2017

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

FOA Topic Area 1: DDU Feasibility Studies
This topic area will focus on the initial site selection, resource assessment, and feasibility study of DDU technology(s). Responses in this area should outline a detailed approach to completing an in depth feasibility study of a potential site to include planned thermal demands for the proposed location with supporting techno-economic analysis and detail of the thermal application. One significant anticipated outcome of the FOA will be to match low-temperature geothermal resources with thermal end-uses, expanding the reach of geothermal applications to regions of the country with temperatures below current technical capabilities for geothermal power generation. EERE anticipates making approximately 4-15 awards under Topic Area 1. Individual awards in Topic Area 1 may vary between $240,000 and $900,000 and be up to 24 months in length.

FOA Topic Area 2 – DDU Community of Practice Administration and Techno-Economic Validation of DDU Projects

DOE will select one Community of Practice Administrator (COPA) under this Topic Area to convene and establish a DDU Community of Practice (COP). The COPA will select models for assessing the technical and economic potential and will rank the feasibility of DDU projects. DOE will serve as ex officio heads of the COPA and will provide confirmation and validation of the criteria. DOE will not establish the criteria for communities of practice prior to FOA release. The selected COPA will work with Topic Area 1 awardees. 



Amount Description

EERE expects to make approximately $4,000,000 of Federal funding available for new awards under this FOA, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. EERE anticipates making approximately 5-16 awards under this FOA. EERE may issue one, multiple, or no awards. Individual awards in Topic Area 1 may vary between $240,000 and $900,000. The award in Topic Area 2 will be up to $350,000.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

December 15, 2016