Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS)

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are engineered geothermal systems that access and extract heat from hot rock formations that lack sufficient natural permeability or fluid saturation to generate electricity or provide direct heat. EGS technologies create or enhance permeability in these formations, allowing for the circulation of fluids and the extraction of geothermal energy.

Impact on climate action

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) under Geothermal Energy revolutionize climate action by expanding access to clean, reliable energy. By harnessing Earth’s heat deeper underground, EGS extends geothermal potential to regions previously unsuitable, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, mitigating emissions, and accelerating the transition to renewable energy.


  • Reservoir Characterization: Geophysical and geological techniques are used to identify and characterize suitable hot rock formations for EGS development.
  • Hydraulic Stimulation: Hydraulic fracturing or other stimulation techniques are used to create or enhance permeability in the rock formation, allowing for fluid flow.
  • Fluid Circulation: Water or other working fluids are circulated through the fractured rock formation, extracting heat from the rock.
  • Heat Exchangers: Heat exchangers transfer the heat from the working fluid to a secondary fluid, which can be used for electricity generation or direct heat applications.
  • Reservoir Management: EGS reservoirs require careful management to maintain permeability and ensure sustainable energy production.

TRL : 5-6

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced Drilling and Completion Technologies: Innovations in drilling and completion technologies are improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of EGS development, allowing for deeper and more complex well designs.
  • Stimulation Techniques: Researchers are developing new and improved stimulation techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing with proppants or chemical stimulation, to create and maintain permeability in EGS reservoirs.
  • Reservoir Monitoring and Modeling: Advanced monitoring and modeling techniques are being developed to better understand reservoir behavior and optimize EGS operations.
  • Closed-Loop EGS Systems: Closed-loop EGS systems circulate a working fluid in a closed loop, minimizing water consumption and environmental impacts.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Advanced Drilling and Completion Technologies
  • Novel Stimulation Techniques
  • Reservoir Monitoring and Modeling Advancements
  • Closed-Loop EGS Systems
  • Environmental Impact Mitigation Strategies
  • Sustainable Reservoir Management Practices
  • Horizontal Well Network Development
  • Optimization of Hydraulic Fracturing
  • Enhanced Reservoir Characterization Methods
  • Efficient Heat Extraction Technologies
  • Scalable Geothermal Energy Solutions
  • Innovations in Heat Exchanger Design
  • Geophysical and Geological Techniques Advancements
  • Integration of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology
  • Minimization of Induced Seismicity Risks

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. Eavor Technologies:
    • Technology Enhancement: Eavor Technologies has developed the Eavor-Loop™, a closed-loop geothermal system that utilizes Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) technology. This innovative approach involves drilling deep wells to access hot rock formations, circulating a working fluid through the wells to capture heat, and using a closed-loop system to extract geothermal energy. Eavor’s system eliminates the need for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and surface emissions, making it environmentally friendly and suitable for various geological conditions.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Eavor Technologies stands out for its novel approach to geothermal energy production using the Eavor-Loop™ system. Unlike traditional geothermal systems that rely on specific geological formations, Eavor’s technology is designed to be scalable and applicable to a wide range of subsurface conditions, making it a versatile and cost-effective solution for renewable energy generation.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Eavor Technologies serves utility companies, energy developers, and governments seeking clean and sustainable energy solutions. Their Eavor-Loop™ system has the potential to supply baseload renewable energy to power grids, industrial facilities, and communities, contributing to decarbonization efforts and energy transition initiatives globally.
  2. Fervo Energy:
    • Technology Enhancement: Fervo Energy specializes in developing Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) for cost-effective and scalable geothermal energy production. Their approach involves drilling deep wells into hot rock formations, stimulating the reservoir through hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and circulating water to extract heat and generate electricity. Fervo’s technology aims to unlock the vast geothermal potential of the Earth’s subsurface by enhancing reservoir permeability and heat transfer efficiency.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Fervo Energy stands out for its focus on advancing EGS technology to make geothermal energy more accessible and economically viable. By optimizing drilling techniques, reservoir engineering, and geothermal modeling, Fervo aims to reduce the cost and risk associated with geothermal development, enabling widespread adoption of this clean and renewable energy source.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Fervo Energy targets utilities, independent power producers (IPPs), and energy developers interested in deploying geothermal energy projects. Their EGS technology offers a reliable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, providing clean baseload power for electricity generation, district heating, and industrial applications.
  3. AltaRock Energy:
    • Technology Enhancement: AltaRock Energy is a geothermal energy company focused on developing Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) for commercial-scale power generation. Their approach involves drilling deep wells into hot rock formations, injecting water to create fractures and stimulate heat exchange, and extracting geothermal fluids to generate electricity. AltaRock’s technology aims to overcome technical and economic barriers to geothermal development by improving reservoir performance and energy recovery efficiency.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: AltaRock Energy stands out for its expertise in EGS technology and its commitment to innovation in geothermal energy production. With a focus on research, development, and field testing, AltaRock aims to demonstrate the viability and scalability of EGS for large-scale deployment, positioning geothermal energy as a competitive and sustainable alternative to conventional power sources.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: AltaRock Energy serves energy companies, investors, and government agencies interested in expanding geothermal energy production. Their EGS projects offer a renewable and dispatchable source of electricity, suitable for grid integration and industrial applications, while also providing economic and environmental benefits to local communities.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford University is at the forefront of research on Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), focusing on developing advanced drilling techniques, reservoir modeling approaches, and stimulation methods to unlock the vast potential of deep geothermal resources for sustainable energy production.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves conducting field experiments, numerical simulations, and geophysical surveys to characterize subsurface properties, identify suitable geothermal reservoirs, and optimize reservoir performance through controlled hydraulic fracturing and fluid injection.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in baseload electricity generation, district heating, and industrial processes. By harnessing the heat stored beneath the Earth’s surface, Stanford’s research contributes to decarbonizing the energy sector, enhancing energy security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT conducts pioneering research on Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), leveraging its expertise in geosciences, reservoir engineering, and materials science to develop innovative technologies for accessing and exploiting deep geothermal reservoirs in challenging geological environments.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of advanced drilling technologies, downhole sensors, and stimulation methods for enhancing reservoir permeability, heat extraction rates, and energy conversion efficiency in EGS projects. They also investigate coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanical processes, reservoir management strategies, and risk mitigation techniques to address technical challenges and optimize project economics.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in renewable heat and power generation, carbon capture and storage, and geothermal heat pumps. By advancing EGS technology, MIT’s research supports the transition to a low-carbon energy future and strengthens the resilience of energy systems to climate change impacts.
  3. University of California, Berkeley:
    • Research Focus: UC Berkeley is engaged in innovative research on Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), leveraging its expertise in earth sciences, geophysics, and computational modeling to improve the understanding, characterization, and exploitation of deep geothermal reservoirs for sustainable energy production.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves integrating geological, geophysical, and geochemical data to identify favorable geothermal prospects, optimize reservoir development strategies, and mitigate induced seismicity risks associated with EGS operations. They also explore innovative heat extraction techniques, reservoir stimulation methods, and subsurface fluid management approaches to enhance energy recovery and operational reliability.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in renewable power generation, industrial process heat, and energy storage. By harnessing the heat stored within the Earth’s crust, UC Berkeley’s research contributes to diversifying the energy mix, reducing dependency on fossil fuels, and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

EGS technology is still in the early stages of commercialization, and there are currently only a few commercial-scale EGS plants in operation. However, several demonstration projects and pilot plants have been developed, showcasing the potential of this technology.