An Estimate of Shallow, Low-Temperature Geothermal Resources of the United States: Preprint

Katherine Young, Timothy Reber, Meghan Mooney, Michelle Mullane, Kevin McCabe, Michael Gleason

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Low-temperature geothermal resources in the United States potentially hold an enormous quantity of thermal energy, useful for direct use in residential, commercial and industrial applications such as space and water heating, greenhouse warming, pool heating, aquaculture, and low-temperature manufacturing processes. Several studies published over the past 40 years have provided assessments of the resource potential for multiple types of low-temperature geothermal systems (e.g. hydrothermal convection, hydrothermal conduction, and enhanced geothermal systems) with varying temperature ranges and depths. This paper provides a summary and additional analysis of these assessments of shallow (= 3 km), low-temperature (30-150 degrees C) geothermal resources in the United States, suitable for use in direct-use applications. This analysis considers six types of geothermal systems, spanning both hydrothermal and enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). We outline the primary data sources and quantitative parameters used to describe resources in each of these categories, and present summary statistics of the total resources available. In sum, we find that low-temperature hydrothermal resources and EGS resources contain approximately 8 million and 800 million TWh of heat-in-place, respectively. In future work, these resource potential estimates will be used for modeling of the technical and market potential for direct-use geothermal applications for the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Vision Study.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2016
Event40th GRC Annual Meeting - Sacramento, California
Duration: 23 Oct 201626 Oct 2016


Conference40th GRC Annual Meeting
CitySacramento, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-66461


  • beneficial heat
  • bottom-hole-temperature
  • coastal plain
  • conduction
  • convection
  • delineated area
  • direct use
  • EGS
  • geothermal
  • hot dry rock
  • hydrothermal
  • isolated
  • low temperature
  • megawatts thermal
  • NREL
  • sedimentary basin
  • SMU


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