Bureau of Economic Geology

Bureau Undertaking Study to Develop Geothermal Energy at Ellington Air Force Base

March 4, 2021
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunuderbirds

The Bureau of Economic Geology, in collaboration with Texas-based geothermal energy company Sage Geosystems, has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to perform a feasibility study in cooperation with the Texas Air National Guard on the deployment of closed-loop geothermal energy systems to supply clean and secure power to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas. The funding is a Small Business Technology Transfer Phase 1 award from the Air Force AFWERX innovation program.

Small Business Technology Transfer programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development with the potential for commercialization. The Bureau of Economic Geology and Sage expect to deliver the feasibility study to the Air Force within 60 days.

The Bureau will provide scientific support for the project, including detailed resource and geology assessments. Ken Wisian, Associate Director of the Bureau's Environmental Division and former Air Force Major General, will represent the Bureau in the project. “This pilot has the potential to prove the economic viability of a new paradigm of geothermal power generation anywhere,” Dr. Wisian noted.

The systems being pioneered by Sage, a newly launched geothermal venture led by former oil and gas industry executives, are attractive to the military for their small physical footprint, grid independence, security and non-reliance on supply chains, and sustainability. The Texas National Guard hopes the feasibility study will result in a geothermal power facility at a military installation in Texas in the near term. “The work being conducted by Sage Geosystems is of critical interest to our organization to ensure based energy resiliency,” remarked the National Guard program director. Sage is a graduate venture of UT Austin’s Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization.


University of Texas at Austin

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